Saturday, March 23, 2013

My 2013 Major League Baseball Predictions
It is almost time for my favorite season. Baseball Season. The first game of the season is on March 31, 2013, as the Texas Rangers and the now American League rival, Houston Astros, face off against each other in the only game of the day. Like any other season, there are a lot of unknowns. Will the New York Yankees be able to overcome age and lot of injuries? Will the Giants be able to compete for a 3rd World Series in 4 years? Will the Los Angeles Dodgers spending spree help them into the playoffs? These are just a few of the questions to ask..... here are my predictions on how things will end... 



AL WEST 
Oakland A's  95-67
Los Angeles Angels  93-69*
Texas Rangers 87-75
Seattle Mariners 80-82
Houston Astros 60-102                                        

The Oakland A's, who surprised the baseball world last year by winning the division on the last game of the season will find themselves winning the division again. Their success will rely hugely on the pitching staff which will need a healthy Brett Anderson for a full season. The Los Angeles Angels have a great team on paper but their starting rotation leaves something to be desired. The pickup of Jason Vargas from Mariners was good (but bad for the Mariners) but Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton will need to prove they were worth the gamble. The Mariners will have more pop in their lineup with the return of Mike Morse to the organization. They will also need second baseman, Dustin Ackley, to rebound from a dismal .226 batting average in 2012. The Mariners have had a hard time getting wins even when ace Felix Hernandez is pitching. They'll get about five more wins this year but it won't be enough.  The Houston Astros make their debut as an American League team and will have a hard time not losing 100 games. 

AL CENTRAL
Detroit Tigers 96-66
Cleveland Indians 84-78
Kansas City Royals 81-81
Minnesota Twins  74-88
Chicago White Sox 72-90

The Detroit Tigers shouldn't have a problem winning the AL Central again in 2013. The Tigers added an experienced Torii Hunter to their outfield which will help lead them to more wins this season. Manager Terry Francona will have the Cleveland Indians playing some exciting baseball this year and the additions of Nick Swisher and Michael Bourn should help the Tribe obtain a winning record.  The Kansas City Royals traded for an Ace Pitcher in James Shields who will help save the bullpen from being used in many games. After Shields though, the rotation is questionable. The Royals have a lot of talent in their system though and should compete for the playoffs within another year or two.  The Minnesota Twins looks to have a healthy Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer back in the lineup this year. In the heart of the order along with Josh Willingham, they should provide plenty of RBIs. Kyle Gibson should fare well as a rookie starting pitcher but the rest of the staff will have to surprise or Morneau and Mauer will be left just looking up to the Heavens and hoping for better things to come.  After good debut year in 2012 as manager of the Chicago White Sox, Robin Ventura, will have a tough time in 2013 and I wouldn't be surprised if All-Star Pitcher, Chris Sale, struggles this year after signing a big contract extension.

AL EAST
Tampa Bay Rays 92-70
Toronto Blue Jays 88-74*
Baltimore Orioles  87-75
New York Yankees 83-81
Boston Red Sox 77-85

The AL East should be very interesting in 2013 in a way that hasn't been seen for a long time. The Yankees and Red Sox could very possibly finish 4th and 5th in the division. The Tampa Bay Rays traded away pitcher James Shields to the Royals but got a nice hitting prospect in Wil Myers. Jeremy Hellickson is one of the guys that will have to step up to help fill the shoes of the departed Shields. Their rotation is still plenty good to win the division in my mind. I expect Desmond Jennings to step up his game as well now that BJ Upton is no longer with the club. It has been well documented about the Toronto Blue Jays and their many offseason acquisitions. On paper it looks like they are a team that can't be beat. Their lineup looks unstoppable. Will R.A. Dickey be able to come even close to repeating his CY Young year he had with the Mets? Josh Johnson has struggled recenly with injuries. Rickey Romero had a tough 2012 and hasn't looked great so far in Spring Training this year.  The Orioles were a surprise playoff team last year but will fall just short of the playoffs this year. They have one of the better bullpens in the majors with Jim Johnson racking up the saves but the starting pitching leaves something to be desired. The New York Yankees have already suffered many injuries going into the 2013 season to guys like Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Curtis Granderson - none of them look like they'll be back anytime soon either. They will possibly make or a trade or two but the injuries and their overall age will be too much to overcome. Getting rid of Manager Bobby Valentine won't bring winning back to Boston right away. The Red Sox picked up some nice veterans in Jonny Gomes and Shane Victorino but it won't be enough to contend.


NL WEST
San Francisco Giants 91-71
Los Angeles Dodgers 86-76
Arizona Diamondbacks 80-82
San Diego Padres 74-88
Colorado Rockies 70-92

The San Francisco Giants should be the winners of the National League West again in 2013 with their dominant pitching led by Matt Cain. If Tim Lincecum gets himself back on track too then they will practically be unhittable. It will be interesting to see if Sergio Romo can succeed as a closer over the course of the whole season. The Los Angeles Dodgers will be a lot like the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League. They have a lot of star power but can everyone click together? Can pitcher Josh Beckett return to his dominant pitching days and can outfield Matt Kemp stay healthy? Centerfielder Adam Eaton of the Arizona Diamondbacks would have been my pick for NL Rookie of the Year in 2013 but it was announced today that he'll miss 6-8 weeks with an arm injury. The San Diego Padres have decent starting pitching and it shouldn't be much of an issue in the pitcher friendly, Petco Park. Their Gold Glove third baseman, Chase Headley, will miss the first month of the season with a thumb injury. Unlike the Padres, the Colorado Rockies play in a hitter friendly ballpark, and are at a lack for pitching. It will be nice to see a healthy Troy Tulowitzki again at shortstop where he makes many incredible plays. First time manager and former Rockie, Walt Weiss, will have a tough first season. 

NL CENTRAL 
Cincinnati Reds  93-69
St. Louis Cardinals 89-73*
Milwaukee Brewers 83-79
Pittsburgh Pirates 82-80
Chicago Cubs 68-94

The Cincinnati Reds have announced that Aroldis Chapman will not be converted from a closer to starter as originally planned. This is best thing they could have done. To have a guy like Chapman come into the 9th inning and throw 100 mph to wrap up a win is a thing of beauty. Shin-Soo Choo should have a fun time in hitting friendly Cincinnati after he came over in a trade from Cleveland. Not that far from making a big impact in the majors for the Reds is speedster, Billy Hamilton, who had  a record 155 stolen bases in the minors in 2012. The St. Louis Cardinals will be without Chris Carpenter yet again this season (possibly for his career) and they've also lost Rafael Furcal to an injury. Rookie Shelby Miller should help fill in for Carpenter.  A battle for third place should take place between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Pirates will finish over .500 finally but will fall a game short of the Brewers. The Chicago Cubs will be missing the Houston Astros and will own the cellar all to themselves. First Baseman, Anthony Rizzo, should be selected to his first All-Star game for the Cubs. 

NL EAST
Washington Nationals 98-64
Atlanta Braves 93-69*
Philadelphia Phillies 86-76
New York Mets 65-97
Miami Marlins 63-99

Will the Washington Nationals repeat as NL East Champs? Ask Bryce Harper and he will tell you "that's a clown question, bro." Harper should put up even better numbers in 2013 and there is no plans for the Nationals to shut down ace Stephen Strasburg this season. The Atlanta Braves will look different without the now retired Chipper Jones, who was in a Braves jersey from 1993-2012. The Braves did acquire brothers B.J. Upton and Justin Upton who should both make a big impact in the lineup. The Braves have been studying hard this past season to find the true meaning of the Infield Fly Rule. The Philadelphia Phillies have some concerns about the lack of speed on Roy Halladay's pitches. Starter Cliff Lee will be happy to see a healthy Chase Utley and Ryan Howard in the lineup and hopefully get the wins he deserved last year. The New York Mets and Miami Marlins will have a very unexciting battle for last place and it wouldn't surprise me if Giancarlo Stanton ended up getting traded from Miami to a contender for the right price. 


PLAYOFFS:

Wild Card Games:
Los Angeles Angels defeat Toronto Blue Jays
Atlanta Braves defeat St. Louis Cardinals

Division Series:
Oakland A's defeat Tampa Bay Rays (3-2)
Los Angeles Angels defeat Detroit Tigers (3-1)
San Francisco Giants defeat Cincinnati Reds (3-2)
Washington Nationals defeat Atlanta Braves (3-0)

Chanpionship Series:
Oakland A's defeat Los Angeles Angels (4-2)
Washington Nationals defeat San Francisco Giants (4-2)

World Series:
Oakland A's defeat Washington Nationals (4-3)


AWARDS:

AL MVP: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay Rays
NL MVP: Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
AL CY YOUNG:  Jered Weaver, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
NL CY YOUNG: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
AL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Bruce Rondon, Detroit Tigers
NL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves
AL COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Victor Martinez, Detroit Tigers
NL COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Troy Tulowitzki, Colorado Rockies
AL MANAGER OF YEAR:  Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays
NL MANAGER OF THE YEAR:  Dusty Baker, Cincinnati Reds


Well, there are my predictions for 2013... looking forward to an exciting season!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Foresight starting to be less fictional... ?

Back in 2006, Ruben Grijalva of the Easily Distracted Theatre, brought to life a play he wrote called Foresight.  I was fortunate to have a role in that production.

I'm the third one from the left.



 In 2010, Ruben brought the play back with new technology and new actors for a run of shows in San Francisco. (review of SF production here).

One of the features in the play was the introduction of Web Johnny - for a little sneak preview at Web Johnny, take a look - (clip is from Easily Distracted Theatre's vimeo page) -



Web Johnny Commercial from Easily Distracted Theatre on Vimeo.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the play, the idea of Web Johnny is then used to prolong the life of Victor Martinez, who has died, but with the technological advances, he stays around in virtual form. 

Why am I bringing this up? Today, Ruben Grijalva posted the following quote and link on his facebook page -

"Web Johnny has arrived. I don't know whether to be thrilled or file an intellectual property suit."
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-21827631


I think this means Foresight should go on tour in the UK 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Hearty Tales

It is a Friday night and I'm up late, knowing that I don't have to go to work tomorrow. I have been trying to slowly quit caffeine altogether but today I caved and went to Starbucks for a Frappacino so that might be another reason why I'm still awake.

I used to go to Starbucks every morning or another coffee shop if it wasn't Starbucks. I've realized this probably wasn't the best thing for me though as I have a heart condition. I have an irregular heartbeat and the amount of caffeine I was drinking probably wasn't the best thing.  I recently saw my doctor and she told me it won't be too long from now (2 years tops) until I have heart surgery. It is obviously not something I like to think about so I usually don't even talk about it as well. The surgery will likely involve getting one of my valves replaced with a mechanical valve. I've know all my life that it was going to happen, it was just a matter of when.  I won't be much different from the Terminator at that point except you should still be able to understand what I'm saying.

Getting up for work in the mornings have been tougher without coffee, I must admit. In the last 2 weeks though, I've only ended up drinking coffee twice which I think is a big improvement. I also haven't had any soda over that time frame. Sometimes if I want that feeling of drinking a soda then I just end up buying a sparkling water. However, I will not drink decaf coffee.

When I first started doing stand-up comedy, I would drink 1 or 2 red bulls before I did a set. I don't have any reason to that anymore. Even on days when I am tired, I always get a natural adrenaline rush before going on stage.

Robin Williams had a similar heart surgery about 3 years ago and he still has loads of energy. I would have never guessed him to have had a heart problem in the first place - he discusses the surgery a bit in this clip -

I think what I'm looking forward to the most is having another scar. Back in 1994, when I had surgery on my stomach, I ended up with a cool looking scar. I hope the next one is just as good. Unlike that surgery, I hope they don't do any extra work while they are in there. (When I had stomach surgery for my gall bladder, the doctor just decided to take out my appendix too with no warning.)

There is probably some material that I get from this whole experience too (like Robin did) so that's a good thing.

While we are on the subject of my heart - I had a show Monday in San Francisco in which my current manager at my day job attended with her boyfriend and another friend. Well, actually, my manager's last day at work was today.

 I had been doing a bit recently where I talk about my manager and how attractive I thought she is and how I did a background check on her (by that, I meant checking the back of her hand to see no ring). I knew that dating the manager at your job is frowned upon so I talked about getting her in trouble so she'd get fired but then having another job lined up for her already so I would look like a hero and she could still buy me stuff....

Now that she was at one of my shows, I asked myself, "Do I do this bit as I have been lately?" I started to go through the bit and said "She's fuckin hot" but then I stopped myself because I felt bad for the boyfriend. I had met him right before the show and he seemed like a cool guy and I didn't want him to kick my ass. Surprisingly, after the show, the boyfriend and her both told me they wanted to hear the whole bit. I didn't share it though. If they read this blog by some chance then they'll know a little more. We all ended up going to a bar after the show for a quick drink and I actually ended up talking more to her boyfriend than anyone else. We mainly talked about baseball...I guess he knew the way to my heart.