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I'm thinning, not balding... I've got a lifetime of embarrassing moments just waiting to be shared RCNJ Baseball '19

Figuring Out the Browns Draft Strategy

Maybe it’s the star power and surplus of potential franchise quarterbacks headlining this season, but this year’s draft has everybody locked in. People are itching to see what teams like the Browns, Giants, and Jets do with their top picks. Everybody wants to know where Barkley is going to end up. Is Josh Allen really that good? Is Baker the next Johnny Manziel? Well, we have our first hint of news…

To be honest, I never thought this was going to happen. I figured it would be Chubb, Barkley, Allen, or Darnold. Mayfield wasn’t even a thought, based on what I heard in the past. But Adam Schefter tells no lies. If this is the general consensus, then there is a high probability that Baker Mayfield is the first selected player in the 2018 draft.

So with that being the premise of this conversation, how will the rest of the first few picks play out, and how are the Browns planning to maximize their two top-five picks.

Here are my thoughts:

  • The Browns added Tyrod Taylor as a transition quarterback to give their new quarterback an opportunity to learn, grow, and mature. If they knew this was going to be Baker, this is a tremendous move. Tyrod is one of the smarter quarterbacks in the league, and plays relatively similar to Mayfield. I think Mayfield has a higher “big play” ability, but they both are pass first, run second, yet are able to make significant plays with their legs (I know that’s not that unusual in modern football, but knowing when to run and when not to is not exactly something all players have perfected). On top of this, Tyrod is a grown-up in life in general. A stand-up guy. Baker needs to know how to be a franchise quarterback OFF the field. Good move by the Browns.
  • With the selection of Mayfield, the Giants and Jets are next in line. The Browns have to be assuming that they will both look to take quarterbacks for one reason: Saquon Barkley. The Browns have set themselves up very nicely in any scenario though. Here’s why:                                                                                                                                    —-If the Giants/Jets take a quarterback, then Barkley is available at pick #4, and now the Browns have the quarterback who they believe is the best available (Mayfield) AND the best running back in the draft (Barkley).                                            —-If the Giants/Jets take Barkley, then the Browns have themselves secured at the running back position with the signing of RB Carlos Hyde in the offseason and holding onto RB Duke Johnson, Jr too. This leaves them feeling comfortable about their offense and the option to take stud DE Bradley Chubb and line themselves up with the best, young defensive front in football.
  • By selecting Mayfield with the first pick over Barkley or Chubb, they are ensuring they don’t swing and miss on this year’s draft by missing out on their franchise quarterback by having to take the third best option (in their opinion). On top of that, their other options are ground-breaking players that can alter their franchise.

It seems like GM John Dorsey finally has a plan in place for the Cleveland Browns, and a really good one at that. Now, I could be entirely wrong, Schefter could be reporting on BS, and the Browns could trade all their picks to the Patriots for Tom Brady. Who knows, it’s Draft Day.

Go Hawks.

The Top Five Hardest Positions in Sports

Obviously, anyone who is an athlete is going to have an argument that their position is the hardest. And they might have a few points here and there, as really no sport is “easy”. But if you’re going to tell me with a straight face that being a professional bowler is harder than trying to outrun 225 pound linebackers, then your opinion is invalid and you probably punt in Madden. You have to consider the likelihood of success, the necessary athleticism, the work that goes into being out there every day, and who your opponents are. With that said, here are the five hardest positions in sports.

5. Soccer Goalie

The thing about being a soccer goalie, which I can tell you from my four years of experience as a stud rec soccer goalie on an undefeated team, is that there is a lot of instincts involved. You have to know when to come out, when to stay, and even if you make the right decision, you can get a ball coming at your skull with the intention of taking you along with it into the goal. You also have a massive amount of space to defend (24 feet wide, 8 feet tall) when forwards and wings can be infinitely close to you. I mean, you’re telling me you, or anyone else, plans on stopping this?

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4. Baseball Pitcher

As some of you may know, I myself am a pitcher for Ramapo College baseball. And let me tell you, there are times when it’s physically impossible. Mechanics need to be perfect in order to have the ball go where you want to go, and even if you do everything perfect, the ball could still get absolutely creamed on by hitters. The reason why I don’t consider this to be higher on the list is some guys can pick up a baseball and throw 100 MPH with no problem, and they never have to put in the extreme amount of work other positions may have to. But, when your average guy is on the mound, the gif below describes perfectly what we, as pitchers, think is going to happen.

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3. Hockey Forward

The whole ice thing to me is just insane. Maybe it’s just because I don’t play hockey and can’t skate for more than seven seconds at a time without falling, but the fact that people can compete against each other at a high level on that terrain is unfathomable to me. Now you have to add in the ability to be able to stick handle, pass, and score on a goal that probably doesn’t have more than a foot (if you added up all the space) of open space to shoot at. I’ll get to goalies later…

2. Quarterback Football

Easily the position in all of sports with the most pressure, I don’t care what anyone says. Despite ability, if you are the quarterback for a team, you are automatically one of the faces of the franchise. You’ll never know the name of every back-up offensive lineman in football, but if I asked you who Brandon Weeden is, most of you would have a clue. Added to this pressure, you now have to guess where receivers will be down the field while dodging immensely large defensive ends and linebackers who wants to hurt you in every way known to man. Oh, and you have to know EVERY play in a playbook of 100+ plays, and tell everyone their assignment for 50+ times a game.

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1. Hockey Goalie

There was simply no doubt in my mind about this one. Let’s not forget that in addition to trying to stop 100+ MPH slap shots while another human, sometimes your own teammates, are entirely blocking your vision and have less than a second to react, they are also on ICE. ON ICE. LIKE DISNEY. Most people look like this on ice:

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But, now you have to stop guys, who train night in and night out for their whole life, from scoring on YOUR goal! You have to make sure nobody slips a 1-inch puck through your 5-hole. There is absolutely no harder position in all of sports than a goalie.

 

Maybe I left a few out, but these are the hardest in my humble, amateur opinion. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

Wait…Are The Browns Good?

After being in the pit of misery for…well…forever, the Cleveland Browns have put together quite an offseason.

They have made aggressive moves that have made them an interesting contender and are filled with an extremely bright future.

Here’s a list of their recent acquisitions:

WR Jarvis Landry

QB Tyrod Taylor

CB Damarious Randall

RB Carlos Hyde

CB Terrance Mitchell

OL Chris Hubbard

OL Donald Stephenson

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Photo via Sporting News

After the trades for Landry, Taylor, and Randall, everyone was still scoffing at the trades, saying “Whatever, they’re still the Browns”. And while that may be warranted, because amongst all this we cannot forget they have won ONE game in two seasons, I think that’s a narrative that will begin to quickly dwindle away.

They already have one of the most talented receivers to ever step on a football field in the likes of Josh Gordon (led the NFL in receiving while drunk), and let’s not forget about having the 1st and 4th overall picks in this year’s stacked draft class. They also have last year’s first overall pick in Myles Garrett, 23rd overall pick Jabrill Peppers, and 29th overall pick David Njoku.

Nobody has ruled out the factor of drafting Saquon Barkley with the 1st pick, but recent mock drafts suggest the Browns will improve their defense by selecting NC State DE Bradley Chubb. Running backs are almost never picked in the top ten, but the overall consensus is that Saquon is different than the rest.

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Photo via Metro US

Taking the almighty Saquon would give the Browns probably the best running back committee in the league, pairing him with already successful, former 49ers back Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson. Adding that to the elite receiving duo of second year tight end Njoku, Landry, and Gordon, and an experienced, smart quarterback in Tyrod Taylor, their offense is actually scary. If their two new lineman play up to par, and the possibility of drafting one of the best QB’s in the draft to learn from Taylor, they can just get better.

As for their defense, it was already one of the top 20 defenses in the league last year. I know that’s not a lot to say considering there’s only 32 teams, but with a young defense, that is great news. There’s a lot of room for improvement, but the talent is there for sure. If they decide to draft Chubb with one of those picks, then they’ll have two elite pass rushers. Their new cornerback duo in Randall and Mitchell gives some experience to that side of the field, and if they can add some linebackers into the mix with some talent and heart (perhaps some undrafted players with potential), then they can quickly transform into a successful defense.

So, with all that said, the Browns might actually be good. What a time.

 

MLB Teams That Could Surprise in 2018

FINALLY this offseason is starting to heat up a little. I’ve been dying to write about baseball, but literally nothing has happened. A few free agents remain unsigned, but the bulk of the “big names” have found a home. Teams, for the most part, have their rosters ready to go into Spring Training.

Obviously this year you are going to have the powerhouse teams, and the bottom-of-the-barrel rebuild teams, but what about the dark horses? The ones that have always found themselves somewhere in the middle, but never leaned one way or the other, and now they have a legitimate chance to contend for a playoff spot.

PADRES

Key Additions: SS Freddy Galvis, 1B Eric Hosmer, 3B Chase Headley

The San Diego Padres have been a joke for a really, really long time.  I’ve watched the sport since I was six, and I honestly cannot remember a time they were even close to good. But I think 2018 might be their year to be slightly above average! Adding some depth to their lineup in Hosmer, Galvis, and Headley (his name still sends chills down my spine), in addition to their talented young outfielders (Margot, Renfroe), can actually make them a threat on the offensive side of things. But their rotation lacks any consistency, so don’t expect them to be making a wild card push this season. I’d consider anything over .500 a wildly successful season for the Padres.

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This just felt like it needed to be here

ANGELS

Key Additions: SP/OF Shohei Otani, SS/3B Zack Cozart, 2B Ian Kinsler

With the Messiah in center field (others call him Mike Trout), the Angels are always going to contend in some way. But I’m legitimately excited to see them contend in the AL West this year. They are getting a full season out of slugger Justin Upton and added All-Star infielders, in addition to already having defensive wiz Andrelton Simmons and Albert Pujols.

But, of all the teams in this blog, they have the highest chance of failure. With the exception of Otani, they are bringing in old, declining talent, with the hopes they are the players their reputation holds them to. Upton could begin to lose power like Pujols has already done, as could Kinsler. Cozart is no sure thing, especially while playing a new position (3B). And what if Otani isn’t ready? What if he pitches like a 24 year old is supposed to. They could fly high, or they could fall hard. It’ll be very intriguing to see what happens.

CARDINALS

Key Additions: OF Marcell Ozuna, RP Luke Gregorson, RP Dominic Leone

After falling for the good ol’ “Have Derek Jeter become the owner so he can trade that team’s best player to his former team” trick, the Cardinals recovered quickly and added Marcel Ozuna to an already stacked outfield. With Dexter Fowler, Tommy Pham, and now Ozuna, their lineup is scary. They were already on the verge of being a playoff team, but with ace Carlos Martinez a year older, and a few added pieces to the bullpen, this squad could be ready for the postseason once more.

BREWERS

Key Additions: OF Lorenzo Cain, OF Christian Yelich

The theme of a “stacked outfield” continues here, but like the Cardinals, this team wasn’t missing a whole lot. I don’t think they’re championship caliber, but a few midseason moves could direct them towards the promised land. They have some great prospects to dish out at the deadline, and Jake Arrieta still remains unsigned.  With the Cubs and the Cardinals both getting better this offseason, be on the look out for the NL Central to be best division in baseball.

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GIANTS

Key Additions: 3B Evan Longoria, OF Andrew McCutchen

It’s an even year, so the Giants are automatically a contender. Minus the weirdest trend in sports, the Giants actually made significant moves to be a better team. Longoria and McCutchen are veteran players that still have something to offer, and getting Mad-Bum healthy already gives them a few more wins. I can see them switching between the 2nd and 3rd spot in the NL West throughout the year with the Rockies, and the Diamondbacks falling into mediocrity.

PHILLIES

Key Additions: 1B Carlos Santana, RP Pat Neshek

The Phillies didn’t make a huge splash this offseason, but they are a young team that continues to get older, and this season could finally be the year they breakout as a unit. Fans got a glimpse of what OF Rhys Hoskins can do last season, and as their rising stars continue their gradual pace towards becoming All-Star caliber players, the Phillies have a chance to compete for a wild card spot come October.

MARLINS

Just kidding, they’re a dumpster fire

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LeBron James Lists Warriors As One of His Potential Teams; Fans of Literally Every Other Team Decide to Start Watching More Baseball

According to Bleacher Report , LeBron James claimed he will listen to offers from the Warriors and Spurs this offseason, as well as the Cavs, Lakers, Heat, and Rockets. His decision to include the Warriors is based off his “respect” for their “winning culture”.

 

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Fans yelling at their phones and TV screens when they hear this
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Fans when it actually happens

Clearly, I don’t think it will ever happen because there’s no shot they would be able to offer him a max deal while keeping Draymond or Klay long-term, but even the thought of LeBron, Curry, and Durant on the same team makes me feel like Owen Wilson.

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All respect for the NBA, LeBron, KD, Curry, Kerr, and anyone else involved with this move, would be lost entirely. However long LeBron chooses to play for in his deal will be followed with the worst years of the NBA in the history of the league. Professional basketball would matter so little, that I might actually consider watching the Ball brothers in Lithuania before I watch the NBA.

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But don’t you think LeBron would have learned his lesson when he went to Heat and got annihilated for joining a “Big Three”? Or when Durant went to Golden State and had to make a fake Twitter account just to boost his self-esteem? Let’s make this clear:

LEBRON, IF YOU GO TO PLAY WITH THE WARRIORS, FANS WILL HATE YOU AND THAT TEAM.

Your journey to “Catching Jordan” will be over because having a team like that around you is basically like using PEDs (maybe not), and any championships you win basically won’t count in the eyes of those that judge you. Nobody can deny you are the most dominant player of this generation, and your stats alone will force people to argue for you as the greatest player of all-time, but doing this will only hurt your legacy. And at this point in your career…that has to be the last thing that means something to you.

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On the bright side, more people will watch baseball, and maybe 2K19 will be a little cheaper.

A List of Things Markelle Fultz’s Shot is Uglier Than

Remember Markelle Fultz? The first overall pick in the draft? Consensus best player in a stacked class? Sure thing, great speed, great vision, great player. Well…this is him now.

Feel old yet?

A few videos have been released of Fultz learning to shoot again, and it is UGLY. With free throws like that, he has potential to be the biggest bust of all-time. He’s still young, and he can still fix it, so I’m not going to be making any assumptions. But, for the time being, I don’t want to let an opportunity for humor slip away. Let’s discuss a few things that Markelle Fultz’s shot is uglier than:

Steve Buscemi

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50 Cent Throwing a Baseball

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Kyle Kuzma’s Outfit Choices

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Jabba the Hutt in his prime

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Kevin Durant Trying to Drink a Beer

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Dennis Rodman (two pictures were required)

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Matt Schaub Pick Six’s

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Ed, Edd, and Eddy in Real Life (Viewer Discretion Advised)

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Moles (both kinds)

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Anyone Who Consciously Hates on Nicolas Cage

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Science…it’s stupid and hard

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Kim Kardashian singing anything, let alone her own song “Jam (Turn It Up)”

Shaq Shooting Free Throws (didn’t know this was ever possible)

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And finally…this

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I’m sure I’m missing something, so comment below if you think there is anything Fultz’s shot is uglier than before he figures out how to be good again.

Who’s In and Who’s Out: 2018 MLB Hall of Fame Class and Future Inductees

Everybody’s favorite time of the year. NFL playoffs? Nay. Midst of the NBA season? Wrong again? MLB hot stove heating up? Definitely not. Soccer stuff (I’m ignorant to this sport and its wonders)? Could be, wouldn’t know. The time of the year is Hall of Fame elections for the MLB.

Last year’s inductees were somewhat disappointing and lacked the controversy of whether or not Steroid Era players should be inducted. Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez, Jeff Bagwell, and Tim Raines were all elected. Good players in their times, and definitely deserving of the honor, but I think we can all agree they don’t hold the name power of players like “Ken Griffey, Jr” or “Pedro Martinez”.

2018, though, has some powerhouse names. The inductees will be chosen on January 24.

FIRST TIME ON THE BALLOT

Chipper Jones

Andruw Jones

Hideki Matsui

Johan Santana

Omar Vizquel

Chris Carpenter

Johnny Damon

Liván Hernández

Orlando Hudson

Aubrey Huff

Jason Isringhausen

Carlos Lee

Brad Lidge

Kevin Millwood

Jamie Moyer

Scott Rolen

Kerry Wood

Carlos Zambrano

NOTABLE PLAYERS RETURNING TO BALLOT

Fred McGriff

Vladimir Guerrero

Jim Thome

Edgar Martinez

Manny Ramirez

Trevor Hoffman

Mike Mussina

Curt Schilling

Barry Bonds

Roger Clemens

Larry Walker

Jeff Kent

Gary Sheffield

Billy Wagner

Sammy Sosa

Lol…imagine being the people who had to go look through each of these players careers and decipher if they are worthy of baseball immortality. That seems like a bitch, and something you need to get paid to do. Since I actually pay to write on this site, I am going to talk only about the borderline players. I will note the obvious ones (both who will and who will not be apart of the the Hall), as Mr. Walker will be covering the 2018 candidates more in-depth.

2018 Hall of Fame Class:  3B Chipper Jones, ATL; DH Jim Thome, CLE; RP Trevor Hoffman, MIL; OF Vladimir Guerrero, LAA; DH Edgar Martinez, SEA; SP Mike Mussina, BAL/NYY

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THE NEVER EVERS: Johnny Damon, Liván Hernández, Orlando Hudson, Aubrey Huff, Jason Isringhausen, Brad Lidge, Kevin Millwood, Jamie Moyer, Scott Rolen, Kerry Wood, Carlos Zambrano, Carlos Lee, Fred McGriff

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THE FUTURE INBETWEENERS (explained with a prediction):

Now, there are people on this list that are not going to join the Hall simply because their career was not spectacular enough. They will rise and fall throughout the years, varying on how the committee views their legacy, how their stats shape up with their era, etc. But, there are a great deal of players below that have no-doubt, first-ballot stats, yet are notoriously left out of the Hall of Fame due to the fact that they were involved with steroids.

Steroid Era Inbetweeners: The First Ballot Stats- The Steroid Era is far from a secret. In fact, it is the most discussed topic at this year’s ballot. Players who cheated the game are rising in percentages, inching closer to the 75% of the votes it requires to be inducted. On Wednesday, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds carried 65% of the vote, only 10% away from conquering their biggest battle.

Clemens, Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Manny Ramirez are players that I consider to be first-ballot Hall of Famers…based on their stats. You know their names, you know their stats, but when you think of them, you think “cheater” (with the exception of “Manny Being Manny” coming into mind).

Bonds and Clemens are the two players that could be exceptions to the disgrace of the “Steroid Era”, which seems ironic since they are often defined as the faces of the movement. They were at 54% of the vote last year, and have jumped up 10% in the 2018 pre-elections. Now, I do not think they will enter the Hall this year,  but their increasing numbers, unfortunately, point to them being inducted in the coming years.

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Sosa did too much (steroids, corked bat, etc), and his under 10% of total votes is not appealing. Manny has only been on the ballot for one year, in which he received 24% of votes. His stats alone should get him in, but his proved PED usage keeps him out for the time being.

My problem is, if Bonds and Clemens are approved, you have to reevaluate everyone else who was involved in steroids, right? Are there exceptions, such as Bonds and Clemens, or do you ignore the cheating and treat their stats as everyone else? Where is the line drawn? Should McGwire be reconsidered? Should Sosa start over? There’s a lot of details that need to be evaluated.

Nevertheless, even if Manny does not make it in, his Hall of Fame personality will forever be ingrained into our memories, so he can be thankful for that.

Barry Bonds: YES (eventually)

Roger Clemens: YES (eventually)

Manny Ramirez: NO

Sammy Sosa: ABSOLUTELY NOT

The Rest

Andruw Jones: One of the more iconic names of his generation simply for the fact that he was a central piece of the 90’s Braves teams. While he never won a World Series, nor batted over .300, his power numbers in his prime were impressive. Once leading the league in home runs (51) and RBI (128), he was a force to be reckoned with at one point in his career. Unfortunately, his overall numbers are not enough, and he will left out.

Final Call: OUT

Hideki Matsui: GODZILLA. Everybody loves Hideki, but he just did not play long enough to be considered over others. Clutch hitter, great team player, he just falls short.

Final Call: OUT

Johan Santana: An interesting case here. His numbers during his prime definitely make a solid argument. Two Cy Young awards, five straight seasons with 15+ wins, three-time league leader in ERA. It’s convincing. In his time with Minnesota, you could argue he was the most dominant pitcher in the league. But, when he went to the Mets, he gradually fell apart, and was out of the league by 33 due to multiple injuries. Although he did enough while playing to be considered for the HOF, the end of his career is, unfortunately, how he will be judged.

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Final Call: OUT

Chris Carpenter: Similar to Santana, his career was filled with multiple highlight years, but his overall stats were not enough.

Final Call: OUT

Curt Schilling: I have always just kind of assumed Schilling would find his way in, but after multiple years of not getting support, I have to start to doubt it. His numbers speak for himself, and the fact that he was second in Cy Young voting at age 37 speaks volume to how good he was and for how long. But, the more research I do, the more people are opposed to him due to how players, coaches, and the media viewed him during and after his career. One most notably was “Curt Schilling played his way into the Hall of Fame, but talked his way out of it”.  With all that being said, and only 45% of the vote in 2017, he increased to 66% (so far) this year. So against all odds, Schilling and the “Bloody Sock” game should find themselves in the Hall soon enough.

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FINAL VOTE: IN 

Larry Walker: Might just be me, but my fondest memory of Larry Walker is him batting side-by-side Albert Pujols in MVP 2005. He was a beast, even in his later years. Walker’s stats in his prime are more absurd than I could have imagined. He batted .350 or over FOUR times in his career. His MVP year his stat line was .366 BA, 49 HR, and 130 RBI. The only thing holding him back is his power numbers did not exactly keep up that pace. He finished with 383 home runs, but I don’t think there can be a doubt he was one of the best hitters of that generation. Regardless of the arguments that his batting titles were tainted due to rarely playing full seasons, you cannot deny his success on the field. All in on Walker.

FINAL VOTE: IN 

Jeff Kent: He has maxed out at 16% of the vote, which I find incredibly low for a second baseman that had so much pop. Regardless, while he was talented for his position, his stats are average for an All-Star caliber player, and below average for somebody who won an MVP.

FINAL VOTE: OUT

Gary Sheffield: 500 HR are cool, but not as cool as it used to be. Plus, his steroid usage drowns out his success. Gary and his forearms will be watching the induction speeches from the stands.

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FINAL VOTE: OUT

Billy Wagner: Personally, I am not a fan of relief pitchers being in the HOF unless they were iconic.  Simply put, there are a lot of people who can do the same job. It is a measure of consistency, not as much talent. Wagner was great, but when you look at Hoffman and Mariano, the players don’t compare. Wild Bill (not sure if people actually called him that) had 179 less saves than Hoffman, therefore SO LONG.

FINAL VOTE: OUT

Omar Vizquel: Does defense matter? Does anybody care? Apparently. Writers want him to be elected, but his offense was so average can it be ignored? I think people are overthinking it, and doing the classic “trying to be too smart”. Hall of Famers need to pass the eye test, and to me Vizquel doesn’t. He was a fantastic, unique defender, but he was no more than that.

FINAL VOTE: OUT