Saturday, July 9, 2016

Pennant Race Prediction - Dodgers Trade Puig?

The Dodgers called up another outfielder from the minors.  But the Dodgers have plenty of outfielders already, albeit, injured.  But still, they have plenty of players who can fill in until those players (namely Joc Pederson) come back.

Although there seems to be a light at the end of the tunnel with the starting rotation, which will help with the currently overworked bullpen, you can never have too much pitching.

With the trading deadline coming up and the pennant races heating up, teams are already starting to make their moves. Seems earlier this year, but maybe it seems like this every year.

The Dodgers do have a surplus in outfielders, and rumors that Yasiel Puig has been on the trading block are nothing new.  But I think if this were to become a reality, now would be the time.  Dodgers feel a need for another left handed hitter to fill the void left by Pederson (and Ethier). They also (along with about 30 other teams), feel a need for more pitching.  With the current situation, I think Puig becomes the odd man out.

Sure, the Dodgers won't get the talent level in return.  But the Dodgers have enough surplus outfield talent to give up more than they would receive in return in areas where they need help.

I was trying to figure out where Puig could be traded to, and it's difficult to say. I can't figure out a win win team for Puig trade.  Although the Yankees also seem to be in the market for pitching rather than hitting, I think they might part with Eovaldi, who recently seems to have lost his spot in the starting rotation.

The Yankees have a quality outfield, but they are aging, and Puig will be not only an immediate help, but also in upcoming seasons in case one of the current outfielders decides to separate from the team. Puig has been struggling a bit over the last two years, but flashes of his potential keep popping up, and a new environment might do him good.

Similarly, a change of environment might also do Eovaldi good. It will be his second stint with the Dodgers, and with all the injuries, I'm pretty sure he will get plenty of opportunities to pitch.

Other than that, I really can't think of a team the Dodgers would target. The Cardinals? They have a great offense already, and I can't see them trading away any of their "youngsters."

So, I'm just putting this out there. No one has yet predicted where Puig will go, if he does get traded. I just thought I'd test my predictive abilities.

Monday, April 4, 2016

2016 Baseball standings - my predictions for the record

For the record, here are my picks for the 2016 season.

East - Toronto
Central - Kansas City
West -LA Angels

East - NY Mets
Central - Chicago  Cubs
West - Arizona

AL Champions - Angels
NL Champions - Cubs

World Series Champions - Angels

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Better than You think

I wanted to post this prediction before the first game of the regular season especially since I seem to be going against the grain.

For years, since I was a child in the Ryan/Tanana days, I have predicted the Angels to win the world series whether I had really believed it or not.  But back in the days, even when the Angels hit below .240 as a team, I still believed, on day one of the regular season, that the Angels would be in first on October 1.

Even as a more rational adult, I probably still grade the Angels better than they would be, but this year, I really think the Angels will contend for the division title, and for the World Series championship.

I thought the experts would see it the same way this year, but apparently not. The consensus is that the AL West will be a two team race between Houston and Texas with no regard for the other three teams.  I found one prognosticator predicting the Angels would finish in second, but by and large, the Angels are not even thought of as an afterthought for many baseball "experts."  One writer predicted that the Angels will post the worst record in the American League, and another basically made fun of the lower half of the projected Angels lineup.

They say Mike Trout is really the true offensive weapon the Angels have, and that Richards cannot carry the starting rotation.

While Trout may be the most potent offensive player the Angels have, I really don't see much weakness in the Angels offensive. Conversely, I see them as a very balanced team.  Last year, they were good at getting on base; they just weren't very good at scoring those runners.  They very rarely sacrificed last year (If I had to guess, take out Aybar and the pitchers in inter-league games, the Angeles probably sacrificed less than five times the entire season). I believe this has been corrected this year.

Here is my take on the Angels offensively.

1. Escobar is will a great leadoff hitter. He will hit for average and get on base.
2. Calhoun can hit for power and average and can run. He can fit anywhere between 2 - 5 on any team's lineup and even hit leadoff on some teams, as he has done in the past with the Angels.
3. Trout  - do I need to say more?
4. Pujols - Had foot surgery last November, and yes, getting older.  I know he wants to, but he will probably play less first base this year and DH more. This will save his energy, and I think he will have the best offensive year he has had since joining the Angels.
5. Cron - had a great 2015 spring, and a good second half of the season.  He had a good spring this season. I think this year, he will have a good full season this year. Also has power.
6. Simmons hasn't matured offensively as people expected when he first came up with the Braves, but he's had a good spring, and I think he will have a really good offensive year also.
7. Perez/Soto.  Both of these guys are capable of hitting for power and average.
8. Nava/Gentry - When Nava is in the game, he will probably hit second, but both these guys are also very capable, offensively.
9. Giavotella - can bat first or second when needed. Hits for average, and has some pop in the bat.

So, there you have it, according to my thoughts.  I think up and down the lineup, the Angels have good hitters. They have a nice combination of speed and power, and batters who might bat in the lower third of the lineup who could on any given day, bat at the top of the order.

Here is my take on Angels defensively.

1. Perez/Soto -No shame here. Soto is a veteran, but this is Perez' third year, and the first two were behind Chris Ianetta, but this year, people will get to know Perez and how appreciate how good of a player he is.
2. Cron - Admittedly, I'll still take a less mobile Pujols over the younger Cron, but Cron has improved a lot at first, and will continue to improve defensively the more he plays. And Pujols, though known for offense, knows how to play the position, and is one f the best defensive first basemen in the league.
3. Giavotella - worked a lot in the off season and they say his defense has improved a lot as a result. But even with lapses last year, he showed good range and play making talent.
4. Simmons - no questions on defense here, regarded as one of the best defensive shortstops, if not the best.
5. Escobar - strong arm and good range. Quality third baseman.
6 - 8. Outfield: Trout, Calhoun, Nava/Gentry - Best outfield in the majors.

And on pitching. I think they have a great starting rotation. Much better than what most experts give them credit for.

1. Richards - one of the best young arms in the game, watch him revert back to 2014 form.
2. Heaney - another great young arm. Watch him have a breakout year.
3. Santiago - would have lapses at inopportune times.  He has sped up his game this year, and I think this will help him a lot. Watch him have a big year as well.
4. Weaver - so he has lost a lot of velocity over the past few years, but he is still great and changing speeds and still one of the great curveballs in the game.
5. Shoemaker - remember, he won 16 games his rookie season. Still has a great forkball/split finger. I think he needs another "outpitch." On many other teams, I'd have him as the third starter.

On top of this, Tyler Skaggs is still recovering from Tommy John surgery. He is also one of the great young arms the Angels have. And CJ Wilson, though inconsistent at time the last couple of seasons, is still a quality pitcher and one of my favorite players in the game.

Am I being a little bit overly positive? Maybe. But it is the first full day of the regular season.  And more importantly, I really do believe the Angels are fielding a very good team this year, and will be in the running to win the World Series this year.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Rubio/Cruz ticket for GOP in 2016?

This is copied and pasted from the blog I maintain on my author website.  I normally blog from here and then export to other sites, but when I blog from my author site, it doesn't  export to here, so...

Here is the blogpost:

Last weekend, I made several predictions about how the 2016 presidential campaign will play out.  I was waaaay wrong about Jeb Bush, which was my out of the world prediction - that he would be the GOP nominee.  But I do think he dropped out too soon. He should have waited until Super Tuesday because the field is still crowded enough and enough delegates are still up for grabs for him to make an impact while not hurting Rubio enough. Despite their "feud," Rubio, I believe would be his answer to the question, "If you couldn't be the nominee, who would you like to see as the nominee?"

Okay, one of my predictions is that Ted Cruz would the kingmaker at a brokered GOP convention.  I think this is more realistic now, and I think what will happen is that the GOP insiders will play "campaign games" to see what combination will have the best chance of winning the election.

I think no matter who the GOP nominee is, he will win the rural vote.  However, between Trump/Cruz/Rubio, I believe Rubio will be the best choice to challenge the Democrats in the urban areas.  I think Trump refuses to budge, and Cruz, despite all his fights with the GOP establishment, backs down and asks his delegates to support Rubio on a subsequent ballot.

So, here is my edit to one of the predictions I made last week.  Rubio will be the GOP nominee

As a reward, Cruz is asked what he wants.  I'm not sure if he would want this, but if he wanted to be the VP candidate, I'm pretty sure it would be his for the asking.

A Rubio/Cruz ticket would probably the most volatile since Kennedy/Johnson became running mates, but most of the time,  the presidential candidate and vice-presidential candidate are from two different constituencies (philosophically like Reagan/Bush, Geographically like again. Reagan/Bush, or vocationally like Clinton/Gore (Governor and Senator))  And in this case, it would bring marry two factions of the Republican party - and the only question would be how well they could bring in the libertarian faction of the party into the fold.

As I write this, Nevada is deciding on their choice for the Republican nominee and Rubio seems to be getting the bulk of endorsements from the establishment - it was as if the establishment was waiting for either Rubio or Bush to drop out, and now that Bush has suspended his campaign, it was like an invitation for them to endorse Rubio.

For the Democratic side, it seems what I predicted, that Sanders must decidedly defeat Clinton in several states, is getting more coverage.  Clinton has the Democratic establishment backing her and she may win the Democratic nomination even if she enters the convention with less pledged delegates from the popular voting.

So, super Tuesday is next week. Lets see how far off I am.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Thoughts on How the 2016 Presidential Elections Will Play Out

I generally stay out of political discussions, and the following is not an endorsement of any candidate. One of the best exercises for writers is that of "What If," and over the last couple of days, I was doing this with this year's candidates.  Nostradamus, I'm not, but I'd like to record some predictions.

If I'm wrong, I'm wrong, but if I'm right, it'd be nice to have a record of my predictions before the fact. So, here goes. - I am writing this on February 16, 2016

1. Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination.

The Clinton supporters probably said, "Duh," but the Sanders supporters probably said, "No way!"  I think the most recent polls show the two candidates in a dead heat.  When everything is all over and done with, Sanders might end up with more pledged delegates at the convention.

The following has been mentioned, but won't get much airtime until the convention because it wont't come into play unless the candidates are within about 10% of each other at that time.  That is the role of superdelegates.  Super-delegates in the Democratic party will make up about 15% of  the delegates at the convention.  These delegates are party leaders and officials, and are not bound to vote for the candidate who "won" the primary or caucus in the state from which he/she is from.

In a tight race, if one candidate has the support of a vast majority of these superdelegates, then that candidate, even losing the "popular" vote during the primary season, could win the Democratic party nomination.  And, at this time, it seems Hillary Clinton will be getting a vast majority of these votes.

So, the primary and caucus voting will be tight, Sanders might even have more pledged delegates when the convention starts, but Hillary Clinton will win the nomination.

2. The Republican Nominee Will be the result of a Brokered Convention, and Ted Cruz will be the King-Maker

Donald Trump may possibly win the plurality of primary and caucuses, and show up with the most delegates, but he needs 50%, and he will be far from it.  I think he'll probably end up with about 30 - 35% of the pledged delegates.  And I don't think any of the current candidates will be dropping out.

The Republican version of Super-delegates, the unpledged delegates make up less than 10% of the total, and I don't think they will be voting for Trump as long as Rubio and Bush are in the race.

So, let's say the following will be at the time of convention.
A.  Trump 35%
B. Cruz 25%
C. Rubio 25%
D. Bush 10%
E. Others 5%

I think Carson will drop down to the "also rans," as the primary season progresses.

So, no one gets the nomination on the first ballot, and the dealing begins.  I doubt Trump will get any of the Bush/Rubio supporters, so his defectors have to come from Cruz.  But I don't think Cruz will drop out. Bush/Rubio would probably negotiate and one or the other would combine their delegates. That gives them 35%, plus about 10% of the non-pledged delegates. I think the Carson votes will go to Trump, and the Kasich votes go to Rubio/Bush.

This leaves Trump and Rubio/Bush with about 40% of the votes each, and Cruz with 25%, but lets say 20%, since the superdelegates will dilute his share.

So, by second ballot, it will be

A. Trump 40%
B. Rubio/Bush 40%
C. Cruz 20%

Cruz will be king maker and the candidate he supports will win the nomination.  It will be the one who is feuding with him the least.

I don't know who it will be, but if I had to stick my my neck out, it would be Jeb Bush.  I think currently Rubio might be the establishment favorite, but 1. Ted Cruz might say he would support Bush, but not Rubio for the candidacy; 2. the really big donors might favor Bush - and with these two reasons, Rubio might agree to defer to Bush for the nomination. If this happens, then Rubio will almost be assured to choose whether he wants to be the VP candidate, which he may or may not want.

3. It Doesn't Really Matter if Trump Runs as an Independent.

After not getting the nomination, Trump may run as an independent.  At first, it may seem that this will hurt the Republican candidate, but I think it's more complicated than that. Regardless of what Trump decides, a good number of Republicans who voted for Trump in the primaries will end up voting for the Republican candidate, so I don't think it hurts the Republicans in this respect.

As for the Republicans who vote for Trump as an Independent, I think he will be able to pull enough Democrats over to his side to even things out.  However, I think what would happen is that in the more liberal states, the Republicans will vote for the nominee, and Democrats will not cross over to Trump.  In the more conservative states, Trump pulls from the Republican candidate, but also gets cross over from the Democrats. I think it evens out.

If Trump doesn't run as an independent, a lot of his supporters would sit out the election.

4.  If Trump Makes  A Big Impact, Jeb Bush will be the Next President, but I highly doubt this will happen.

If Trump wins enough states to prevent either party from enough electoral votes, then the election goes to the House, in which case, the Republicans will win since they have the majority.

4. Of Course, there is a way for Trump to get enough electoral votes to send the election to the House.

After the 2000 elections, several states, including California (a large state), made a change to who their electoral votes will go to. Instead of the candidate who wins the state, the electoral votes will go to the candidate who wins the popular vote nationally. At least in California, I believe this went into effect in 2008, and California voters voted for the same candidate who won the popular national vote. However,what would happen if Donald Trump gets the most popular votes nationally by finishing in second in many states?  He could get a significant number of electoral votes by not even winning a state.

5.  If Bush and Clinton Get the Nominations, it will be a Proxy Vote between Bill Clinton and George W. Bush

Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton will run as individuals, but invariably it will turn into a popularity contest between the Bill Clinton and George W, Bush administrations.  I think people have fonder memories of the Bill Clinton years and thus, Hillary Clinton will win.

So, that's my prediction for this election year.  There are so many variables tat have not played out, yet, including Hillary Clinton's email issue, and Ted Cruz' citizenship issues, and other issues that may or may not pop up.  But given the situation today, I think it will play out in a way that Hillary Clinton will be our next president.

When I first starting writing this piece, I was sure I'd conclude that Hillary Clinton would be the Democratic nominee, that Marco Rubio would be the Republican nominee, and Donald Trump wouldn't make a difference whether he ran as an independent or not. I'm pretty confident that Hillary will win the Democratic nominee, and the Republicans will have a brokered convention, but other than that, I think this is how it will play out, but I'm not too sure.

As they say in sports, "That's why you play the game.  You never know how it will turn out."

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Toe Up to 10K wins Gold Medal in 2015 Reader's Favorite Book Awards

My book on my journey of recovery from spinal cord injury, Toe Up to 10K,  has won a Gold Medal in the 2015 Reader's Favorite Book Awards.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Alternate dimensions and alternate universes

Recently, I came across an article on a theory which stated that there are alternate universes and they all interact which each other, and that because some actions were different at some point, things turned out differently.

I think the article stated that such theories have been around since the 1950's.

I first came across this in the comic book world. - DC comics having re-did all their Golden Age heroes into the Silver Age, decided to have them enter each other's universe. In the DC Universe, this became known as Earth-1 and Earth-2.  Although stories almost always revolved around the interaction between Earth-1 and Earth-2, there was Earth-3, Earth-4, and so on, and actually an infinite number of Earths, out of which came a mini-series, "Crisis on Infinite Earths."

In some of these worlds, the same person would be the same hero - Clark Kent was Superman for both Earths, but Jay Garrick is the Flash in Earth-1, while Barry Allen is Flash in Earth-2.  Everything was a little bit different.

Although I don't (didn't) watch these show, I think Dr. Who and the 90's tv show Sliders, also are plays on the alternate universe theory.

I can't remember where I read this, and I think the subject was dimensions, but I have come to apply it as the way I understand universes and dimensions: Within a dimension, there are an infinite number of universes.  Visually, a dimension is like  a hotel.  Each room in a hotel is a separate universe. The rooms don't interact with other, but sometimes they do - maybe the door might be open between connecting rooms; maybe the guests in one room visit guests in another room.  So, they are separate, but there is a chance that a visitor from one universe may enter another universe - like Earth-1 and Earth-2.

If each hotel room is a separate universe within a dimension, then each dimension is a separate hotel.  And separate hotels would have different rules.  It would be a little bit harder for interactions to take place - after all, guests in one hotel would rarely walk into another hotel (except in Las Vegas, and other gambling jurisdictions - but that would be the casino, restaurants, etc - not the hotel part). But sometimes one party might decide to stay in different hotels, thus visit each other.  This is kind of the way I see the supernatural - and actually, the show, Twilight Zone played on this thought. On that show, it was the dimension of imagination and shadows.

But what if ghosts, angels and demons were entities from another dimension that found their way into our dimension, and within a certain space in our dimension, use the rules of their own dimension.  I think I read this in the same place, but the author's point was that someone from a 2-D world could never comprehend a 3-D world, just like we couldn't comprehend a 4-D world.  I'll just add to this and offer, what if we entered a 2-D world and were able to use the rules of the 3-D world.  We might be seen as demons or Angels in their dimension.  

As I wrote this, I was trying to figure out what book my ideas came from (how accurately or well I understood those concepts in that book are another story).  But I found the book, it is titled, Warped Passages, by Lisa Randall, who is a renowned physicist.

Interesting stuff, especially for writers.