All last week I told myself I was going to have a relaxing weekend. I had nothing really planned, other than a concert on Sunday night. But, as always, I ended up going non-stop from the time I got off work Friday until I went to bed at 1:15am Sunday night/Monday morning. Friday night I left work, ran to my parents to pick up Trivial Pursuit, stopped at the beer distributor for a case of beer and then went to my cousin Mary's house with Colin and Kait for dinner, drinks and to play Trivial Pursuit. Colin thinks he won even though we didn't finish the game and he cheated - multiple times. Of course the drinks led to us going downtown, which meant we were out until 2:30am and didn't get to sleep until after 3. Saturday I told my buddy Bobby I would play golf with him at 9am...so I was up at 7:30. Luckily I have the ability to drink until 3am and then jump right out of bed when my alarm goes off without suffering from a hangover. I showered, changed and ran out the door only to realize that my car was still at Mary's house (I wisely picked cab fare over a DUI - my mom is smiling right now). I got a ride to my car and made it to golf on time. Played 18 holes without getting rained on surprisingly and was back in my car by 1:45pm. I drove home, changed and had to make it to the 4th of my 4 fantasy football money league drafts by 3pm. I drafted the winning team and was back in my car heading home by 5:45pm. I changed quickly again and drove to Aroogas to meet up with Colin, Dan, Mike and his girlfriend Candace. We ate wings, drank beers, watched preseason NFL games and received multiple high fives, fist-bumps and kisses on the head from Walsh until about midnight. Then me, Kait, Mike and Candace hit up another bar for an hour or so and made it back to my house around 1:30-2am. Sunday was even more go-go-go. We got up, went to brunch and then Kait and I drove up to Jim Thorpe, PA for the Trace Adkins concert. Kait's dad grew up with a guy in Trace's band, so we had VIP tickets, got to meet the band and sit literally next to the stage. Pretty cool show, even though I'm not a big country music fan. The concert ended around 10:30pm, we were in the car by 11 and I didn't crawl into bed until about 1:00am. Whew...I am exhausted just typing that. So much for the relaxing weekend.
To elaborate on my golf round, I think Saturday was the worst round I've played in 5 years. Sure, I could blame it on being hungover or tired (or both), but I have played some of my best golf hungover and tired. I have no clue what was wrong with me Saturday. I honestly did not hit a single drive that stayed right of center. Not one. Every drive I hit started out the same way: right down the middle with a little draw...then more draw, and more draw and before I knew it, the ball was either in the trees or OB left. It was unreal. Now I'm not a good golfer by any means, but I am definitely average if not a little above-average. If you've ever played a round with me, you can tell within a hole or two that I'm a decent golfer. However, after 3 holes, you know I'm wildly inconsistent. I shot a 76 earlier this summer, which was my best round ever. But followed that round up with a 90 a week or so later. If there is one thing I do well , it's hit my driver. That certainly was not the case Saturday. I think I stopped keeping score somewhere around the 6th hole. In case you didn't know, I don't take losing (or playing poor golf) very well.
With basketball and hockey on the shelf for now, the Detroit Lions and Detroit Tigers are the two teams I am following closely. Lucky for me, both are looking solid right now. The Lions have been pretty awesome this preseason, capped off by a 34-10 rout of Tom Brady and the Patriots on Saturday. I know it's the preseason, and a bunch of Patriots players sat the game out. But so did a bunch of Lions' starters. Matt Stafford was 12-14 for 200 yards and 2 TDs and is poised for a big year if he can stay healthy. I'm still not going to get sucked into the Lions-hype train, but my prediction of them making the playoffs is looking less like a homer pick each week. As for the Tigers, they are currently 6 games up in the AL Central. Miguel Cabrera is always a force and in the MVP discussion. And Justin Verlander has been flat out sick! Dude is 20-5 with a 2.38 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP. Those numbers are crazy good. This could be the first year since 1986 that a starting pitcher wins the MVP award. Verlander is already a lock for the Cy Young. (Yes, I realize I just jinxed both the Lions and the Tigers. Stafford will break his collarbone week 2 and Verlander will be mentioned in the same sentence as Dr. James Andrews by the end of September)
Speaking of baseball, here are my predictions for the playoffs, MVP and Cy Young award races:
AL East Champ: New York Yankees
AL Central Champ: Detroit Tigers
AL West Champ: Texas Rangers
AL Wildcard: Boston Red Sox
Tigers @ Yankees - as badly as I would love to pick the Tigers here, I just don't think they are on par with the Yanks. This series will likely go 5 games, simply because Verlander will win 2 for the Tigers. But the rest of the Tigers' pitching staff will get roughed up by the Yankees potent offense and I'm sure Granderson will lead the charge, making it hurt that much more for Tigers' fans. Man, I hope I'm wrong. Yankees in 5.
Red Sox @ Rangers - I hate the Red Sox and think they are overrated. After Beckett and Lester, their starting pitching is awful. The Rangers are very tough at home and have a solid rotation and some recent playoff success to build on. Rangers in 5.
Rangers @ Yankees - a healthy Yankees lineup is too much for any pitching staff in a 7 game series. Yankees in 6.
NL East Champ: Philadelphia Phillies
NL Central Champ: Milwaukee Brewers
NL West Champ: Arizona Diamondbacks
NL Wildcard: Atlanta Braves
Diamondbacks @ Phillies - even though I hate the Phillies more so than the Red Sox, I cannot argue with their unreal starting pitching. There is a reason they were pre-season favorites once they locked up Cliff Lee to go along with Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt. I like Justin Upton and think he's a future MVP for the Diamondbacks (possibly as early as this year), but he can't win this series alone. Phillies in 4.
Braves @ Brewers - the Brewers have the 2 best bats in the NL - Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder. And their rotation isn't too bad either - with Greinke leading the way. The Braves are no slouches, but they are a bit banged up and that will make the difference here. Brewers in 4.
Brewers @ Phillies - ok, here is where I'll let my bias set in. I do think the Phillies are the best team in the NL. However, I think their bats go cold too often. Again, Braun and Fielder are the best 2 position players in this series and I think they do damage...even if that damage comes in the 8th and 9th after the Phab Phour take a seat. Sorry Phillies fans - Brewers in 7.
Brewers @ Yankees - should be a great slugfest. I predict this one comes down to Greinke pitching in a huge game 6 or game 7 at Yankee Stadium. And he'll collapse just like he used to for the Royals. Banner #28 on its way....Yankees in 6. (Sorry Dad - but happy birthday!)
AL Regular Season MVP: Jose Bautista (should be Granderson or Verlander, but they won't give it to a guy batting .275 or a pitcher)
AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander
NL Regular Season MVP: Prince Fielder (should be Matt Kemp - the NL's best hitter - but they won't give it to a guy on a losing team)
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay