The odds makers are picking the Detroit Tigers, but the San Francisco Giants are a loose bunch.
They fought off three elimination games on their way to the World Series... twice.
Here's one statistic NPR's Tom Goldman pointed out this morning:
"Three times in the past in World Series when a team that's swept its way into the Series, like Detroit did, played a team that went the full seven games, like the Giants did, the team that went seven won every time."
Last week, the Ann Arbor Pioneer high school football team went across town to play long-time rival Ann Arbor Huron. It wasn’t the players’ performance during the game that made news, however, but the coaches’ behavior afterward. And the news wasn’t good.
Ann Arbor Pioneer came into the annual rivalry with Ann Arbor Huron, sporting a solid 4-3 record and a good chance to make the playoffs. Huron hadn’t won a game all year, and was simply playing out the season. The only stakes were bragging rights – and even those weren’t much in question.
DETROIT (AP) - Max Scherzer capped a stupendous stretch for Detroit's starting rotation, and the Tigers advanced to the World Series for the second time in seven years by beating the New York Yankees 8-1 Thursday for a four-game sweep of the AL championship series.
Miguel Cabrera and Jhonny Peralta hit two-run homers in a four-run fourth inning against CC Sabathia, who was unable to prevent the Yankees from getting swept in a postseason series for the first time in 32 years.
Last night's rain delay of Game 4 of the ALCS reminded me of one of my all-time-favorite George Carlin bits....
...the differences between football and baseball.
"Football is played in any kind of weather... rain, sleet, snow, hail, mud. Can't read the numbers on the field, can't read the yard markers, can't read the players numbers... the struggle will continue.
In baseball, if it rains, we don't come out to play!"
So why can't baseball be played in the rain?
I found the rules that outline how a game is called (by the home team manager during the regular season, and by the league in a championship series).
Rain affects the game of baseball differently because "it's a game of precision":
As a result, heavy rain makes the ball extremely hard to grip. This actually harms the team on defense dramatically more than the team on offense. If a pitcher is unable to grip the ball, he will throw erratically and will have to significantly slow his pitches. As a result, the batting team will be at a great advantage as it is not significantly harder to swing a bat or run on a dirt track in the rain.
When it's raining, the advantage goes to the offense.
Runs could be scored in bunches while the defense struggles to get three outs. Once an inning does end, the rain might let up, and the opposing team would no longer have the same advantage.
That makes sense to me. Although it does seem like it would be hard to slog through the mud to get on base.
How does this explanation sit with you? Are there any other explanations that you know of?
His parents named him Frank Joseph James Lynch—but everybody knew him as Budd.
He passed away this week, at the age of 95. No, you can’t call that a tragedy, but you can call it a loss—one thousands are feeling.
In a week that included no Big Ten teams ranked in the top 25, the idiotic NHL lockout and, far worse, Jerry Sandusky’s sentencing, I’d rather spend my few minutes with you honoring a man who lived as long as he lived well.
Lynch was born in Windsor, Ontario, during World War I.
Miguel Cabrera won baseball's rare "Triple Crown" tonight after finishing up the regular season in Kansas City.
That means he led the American League in home runs (44), batting average (.330), and runs batted in (139).
It's been 45 years since the last player, Carl Yastrzemski, won the Triple Crown while in Boston.
The Associated Press reports Cabrera is the 15th player in Major League Baseball history to achieve the feat. Others on the list include Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle, and Ted Williams.
Cabrera's milestone wasn't official until the Yankees pinch hit for Curtis Granderson in their game against the Boston Red Sox. Granderson had homered twice to reach 43 for the year, tied with the Rangers' Josh Hamilton and one shy of Cabrera.
Cabrera went 0 for 2 against the Royals before leaving in the fourth inning to a standing ovation. He finished the regular season with a .330 average, four points better the Angels' Mike Trout, his biggest competition for MVP. Cabrera was the runaway leader with 139 RBIs.
Congrats are pouring in to Cabrera on his achievement, who is on the short list for the MLB's MVP award (the award the Detroit Tigers' Justin Verlander won last year).
Notre Dame has notified Michigan it is exercising a three-year out in their contract, meaning their last scheduled game against each other will come in 2014.
A letter from Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick to Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon cancelling games in 2015-2017 was obtained by The Associated Press on Tuesday through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The AP reports the teams were scheduled to take hiatus for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
The Notre Dame football team is required to play five games against Atlantic Coast Conference teams. The school recently joined the conference, but kept its football team independent.
ESPN.com reports the two teams have taken long breaks in the past.
They've played every year since 2002 and regularly since 1978 after not meeting from 1944 to 1977 or 1910 to 1941.
Michigan Athletic Director David Brandon was handed a letter before last Saturday night's game (which Michigan lost 13-6). Brandon said he hopes to work with Notre Dame on another contract in the future:
"The ball is in their court because they've triggered the three-game notice," he said. "We'll play them next year at Michigan Stadium for the last time in a while -- it appears -- and we'll make our last scheduled trip to South Bend in 2014. There will likely be nothing on the board for five years after that. Beyond that, I don't know what will happen."
ESPN.com reports "the Wolverines have an NCAA-best .735 winning percentage in football, and the Irish (.732) are second. Michigan leads all-time series 23-16-1."
No word on Notre Dame's game contract with Michigan State University.
Last week, the University of Michigan football team beat up University of Massachusetts, 63-13.
Okay, U-Mass was pretty bad. Even lowly Indiana crushed them.
But the Wolverines did exactly what they were supposed to do, and did it very well. Many Michigan fans complained anyway.
This is not uncommon.
A few years ago, Michigan blew out 15th-ranked Notre Dame team 38-0, the first shut out over the Irish in over a century. The next day, I challenged listeners on a sports talk show to find something to complain about.
With the 2012 college football season around the corner, Ann Arbor-native Pat Stansik found a new way to express his home team fandom.
Follow the link to watch the music video for his song "I Love You, Denard."
After more than two years of campaigning, a high-schooler with Down Syndrome will be able to play football his senior year. His family fought to create an age waiver for athletes with disabilities.
Eric Dompierre of Ishpeming has played with his team the last three years. He's a kicker, practices twice a day, and even asked for a Bowflex for Christmas to keep training. But now he's 19, past the state age-limit for high school athletics.
Seventeen-year-old Claressa Shields has won the first US women’s gold medal in boxing.
And her hometown of Flint is celebrating. Residents came together to watch Claressa’s triumph in a standing-room-only bar downtown. Everyone was there, from the mayor, to families with babies strapped into high chairs.
Here's another update on how the Michigan Olympians are faring so far:
Ann Arborite Betsey Armstrong and the U.S.A. Women's Water Polo Team tied 9-9 in a game against Spain, and went on to beat China 7-6, moving them onto the quarterfinals. They won in a game against Italy, 9-6, and against Australia in the semifinals, 11-9. Tomorrow, they will play against Spain for the gold medal.
Last Sunday afternoon, Kris McNeal, 26, and Zach Chase, 25, rode their bikes into Duluth, Minnesota after a more than 5,300 mile bike ride around the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway.
The duo had previously completed a 1,700-mile trip from Seattle to Mexico, but that seems like child's play compared to this 97-day long trip.
Averaging about six hours of riding per day, McNeal and Chase covered between 60 and 70 miles before making camp each night. They got their first flat tire after 3,000 miles and ended up having 15 flats by the end of the trip.
Flint’s Olympic female boxer Claressa Shields will fight for a gold medal. The boxer's family and friends gathered to watch their hometown athlete in her semifinal match this morning.
It was an all-out brawl of a fight, fast and breathless and dominated by Shields. She took down Kazakhstan’s Marina Volnova 29 to 15.
Cheers erupted from the crowd of supporters packed into a bar in downtown Flint. Marcella Adams is Shields’ mother. She says she may just pass out if her daughter wins the gold.“I might just faint! I almost fainted right here!”
Football practice starts up at high schools across the state this week. But for one athlete's family, the biggest day of the season is tomorrow.
That's when the Michigan High School Athletic Association will decide whether Eric Dompierre can play football his senior year. Dompierre has Down Syndrome, but that hasn't kept him from playing with Ishpeming High's team the last three years. Now nineteen, Dompierre is too old to be eligible for the team.
The London Olympics features 26 summer sports, with 39 disciplines, and 302 separate competitions, in a desperate attempt to get everyone to watch.
So you’ve got the Ancient Sports, or the Events No One Watches Anymore, like horse riding, rifle range, and archery -- also known as, Things You Did in Summer Camp, But Stopped Doing After You Learned How To Drive and Talk To Girls. Why not include making moccasins and key fobs?
Jordyn Wieber is the defending world all around women's gymnastic champion. But, the DeWitt teenager will not have the chance to compete for the Olympic title in London.
Wieber finished fourth in today's competition in London. The top 24 go on to compete for the all around title. However, Olympic rules prohibit more than 2 athletes from one nation to compete for the all around title. Wieber finished behind two of her teammates in the initial scoring.
A former National Football League player from Michigan filed a lawsuit yesterday against the league and four others for failing to warn him of football-related head injuries, reports the Associated Press.
Derrick Walker lives in West Bloomfield, and he began his football career playing for the University of Michigan Wolverines where he served as co-captain in the '80s. Since then, the plaintiff went on to play tight end professionally for the San Diego Chargers, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders.
Over that time period, Walker's lawsuit says he was concussed multiple times which led to memory loss, difficulty concentrating, headaches and difficulty sleeping. Now he's seeking at least $500,000 in damages, reports the Detroit Free Press.
In the opening ceremonies next week, when the United States’ flag bearer declines to dip the Stars and Stripes for Queen Elizabeth, he or she will be following the lead of Ralph Rose, a Michigan alum who refused to lower the flag in the 1908 London Olympics, for King Edward VII.
Rose explained, "This flag dips for no earthly king."
Wolverines have also made their mark on the podium, winning 138 medals, including 65 gold. This year, Michigan is sending 26 athletes and coaches to London, who will compete in nine different sports.
The list includes Betsey Armstrong, a graduate of Ann Arbor Huron High – widely considered the greatest high school in the history of Western Civilization —who will play goalie for the water polo team.
Tiffany and Jeff Porter both set hurdling records at Michigan, before getting married – even as Tiffany was becoming a doctor of pharmacy.
There’s Connor Jaeger, an engineering student who walked onto the swimming team, and finished as a three-time NCAA All-American.
There’s Sam Mikulak, a gymnast, who broke both ankles at a meet last year on the same landing. He finished his remaining events – and learned afterward he’d fractured both ankles. Not all tough guys play football.
And there’s Jerome Singleton. When he was just one year old, doctors amputated his right leg below the knee. He went on to become an engineering student, and a world-class paralympian – Michigan’s first.
It's a big weekend for sailors. This is the 88th year for the Bayview Mackinac race. It starts in southern Lake Huron and ends at Mackinac Island.
This year's event has drawn 222 boats, crewed by about 2,000 sailors.
Greg Thomas is the race chairman.
"Maybe when you stand on shore, and you see a sailboat out there, it doesn't look like there's a lot going on," Thomas says. "But there's a lot going on. It's very high-tech, there's a physical fitness part to it, an athleticism part to it, and a mental part to it."
A committee of 12 university presidents recently approved a plan to create a four-team playoff for Division I college football – the last major sport to have one. That has Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon wondering what good will come of it – if any.
Well, it’s finally upon us. No, not the apocalypse – Mayan calendar be damned – but a bona fide, Division I, college football playoff.