At the ballpark: A look at all 30 teams heading into the 2017 season

Spring is upon us and that means one joyous thing; Baseball is back. The 2016 season left us with one of the greatest World Series in history. The Chicago Cubs won their first World Series in over 108 years. They came back from a 3-1 deficit. (Will the Warriors jokes ever get old?)

The big question is, can 2017 live up to the hype? Will we see a Cubs repeat, or will another cinderella capture the crown? Who made moves and who is still stuck in the mud? I make my predictions and let you know about all 30 teams in this listicle of “At the Ballpark”

Down below you will find a short introduction on the good and the not so good of each team, along with a 2017 predicted record.

AL East

Boston Red Sox

Red Sox at Orioles May 21, 2012, Photo Via Flickr

The Good: Boston’s pitching staff has silently become one of the best in the league. At least on paper. David Price, Rick Porcello, plus the addition of Chris Sale should *cough* should make for a dominant season.

The Bad: With the loss of David Ortiz, possibly the Red Sox’s best hitter in franchise history, will the Red Sox be able to find a replacement that can adequately fill that void? Injuries to Dustin Pedroia and other key players could stall the offense.

Predicted Record: 91-71, First place in the AL East

Baltimore Orioles

New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles June 28, 2013, Photo Via Flickr

The Good: There’s no debate. With Chris Davis, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, and 2016 home run leader Mark Trumbo, these guys can hit the ball hard and far.

The Bad: Pitching. While their bullpen is anchored by Zach Britton and company, questions remain about the starters. Ubaldo Jiminez is a shell of his former dominant self, and with the rotation going a combined 38-44, the Orioles pitching will be the reason they lose the east, even with the additions of Zach Bundy and Kevin Gausman.

Predicted Record: 82-80, Third in AL East

New York Yankees

New York Yankees April 23, 2011, Photo Via Flickr

The Good: Marashiro Tanaka is an ace in the starting rotation. With the return of Aroldis Chapman, the bullpen is strong again. And good bats in Greg Bird, Gary Sanchez, and Aaron Judge will help lead the offense.

The Bad: Outside of Tanaka, the Yankees rotation struggles. The bullpen of Chapman and Dellin Betances will aid in later innings, but the starters will need to up their game.

Predicted Record: 84-78, Second in AL East

Toronto Blue Jays

Blue Jays at Orioles April 25, 2012, Photo Via Flickr

The GoodThe pitching prowess of Fransisco Liriano, Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman and Marco Estrada will shut down offenses. Troy Tulowitzki, Josh Donalson, and Russel Martin will continue their dominance over opposing pitchers.

The Bad: The Jays lost Edwin Encarnacion, a powerhouse first baseman who hit 42 homers for them last season. In addition, injuries plague Tulowitzki and Donaldson, two more power hitters.

Predicted Record: 81-81, Fourth in the AL East

Tampa Bay Rays

Rays at Orioles May 11, 2012, Photo Via Flickr

The Good: Like the Blue Jays, the Rays have great pitching potential. Chris Archer, Alex Cobb, and Jake Odorizzi are all solid and Blake Snell has a bright future ahead.

The Bad: The Rays need to score more runs. With the exception of Evan Longoria, the lineup struggled to plate runs. Kevin Kermaier, Colby Rasmus, Corey Dickerson, Matt Duffy will need to step up and find their swing if the Rays want a shot at the East.

Predicted Record: 72-90, Fifth in the AL East

AL Central

Cleveland Indians

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco were two of the most dominant pitchers in 2016. With Andrew Miller to close out games, pitching is no problem. The addition of Edwin Encarnacion and the return of Michael Brantley will vastly improve the offense.

The Bad: Injuries always seem to happen at the worst of times for the Tribe. Brantley is healthy, but for how long? Bauer cut his finger in the World Series, and Jason Kipnis is returning from the disabled list. The team needs to stay healthy if they want a return trip to the playoffs.

Predicted Record: 94-68, First in AL Central

Detroit Tigers

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: The offensive lineup of Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, Ian Kinsler, and Nick Castellanos will return and again wreak havoc on opposing pitching.

The Bad: The Tigers give up too many runs on too many defensive mistakes. Not to mention the up and down pitching of Justin Verlander and company.

Predicted Record: 81-81, Second Place in AL Central

Chicago White Sox

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: With great hitting from Jose Abreau, Todd Frazier, Melky Cabrera, and Tim Anderson, the White Sox look poised to have a solid offensive year.

The Bad: The White Sox lose their best pitcher in Chris Sale and arguably their best hitter, Adam Eaton. Replacements and others in the lineup won’t be enough to fill the void.

Predicted Record: 68-94, Fourth Place in AL Central

Kansas City Royals

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, and Lorenzo Cain lead a strong offense. They do have a budding ace in Danny Duffy

The Bad: Royals wish it could go back to being 2015, when they won the World Series. With the loss of Kendrys Morales, the offense will struggle again this season. With the tragic loss of Yordana Ventura (R.I.P.), the pitching staff leaves something to be desired.

Predicted Record: 77-85, Third Place in AL Central

Minnesota Twins

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: Max Kepler is a powerhouse for the Twins and will help lead the offense to great outputs. Bryon Buxton is looking to excel after his breakout season last year.

The Bad: The pitching staff is not good. Ervin Santana is the guy at number one, but he and Kyle Gibson just don’t cut it on talent.

Predicted Record: 67-95, Fifth place in AL Central

AL West

Texas Rangers

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: Pickups of Mike Napoli and Jonathon Lucroy, along with the young talents of Rougned Odor and Jurickson Profar, means the Rangers offense will lead most of the league.

The Bad: After Yu Darvish and Cole Hamels, the Rangers rotation really drops in talent. With a so-so bullpen, the pitching staff is the weak link.

Predicted Record: 90-72, First in AL West

Oakland Athletics

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: Khris Davis has tremendous power. Combined with Rajai Davis, Trevor Plouffe, and Matt Joyce, the A’s should have a solid offensive year.

The Bad: Sonny Gray is injured. Without their star ace, the Athletics pitching remains lackluster in a stellar division.

Predicted Record: 72-90, Fifth in AL West

Houston Astros

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: Jose Altuve is one of the best two-way players in the league. George Springer and Carlos Correa add good power while their bullpen will help close out games.

The Bad: The starting rotation leaves questions in the minds of fans. Dallas Keuchel and Collin McHough had less than ideal seasons last year and will be hoping to improve.

Predicted Record: 84-78, Second in AL West

Los Angeles Angels

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: Mike Trout may be the best player in baseball right now. His power is unmatched and his defensive playmaking ability is uncanny.

The Bad: Like many other teams, pitching is the problem. The Angels don’t have an ace and the bullpen isn’t strong. Their best hope is that Kole Calhoun can elevate his play to have a great season.

Predicted Record: 77-85, Fourth in AL West

Seattle Mariners

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: Hitting the ball is no problem for this team. The combo of Robinson Cano, Kyle Seager, and Nelson Cruz will lead the offense.

The Bad: Felix Hernadez had a rough 2016. Will he be able to bounce back? The starting rotation needs to be more consistent and reliable if the Mariners want to win the West.

Predicted Record: 80-82, Third in AL West

NL East

Washington Nationals

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: Bryce Harper is good. He is young and talented. Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg headline a strong pitching staff.

The Bad: Injuries and relationships will be the two biggest factors to the Nationals success or downfall. Without Harper, there is not really a power hitter and the Nationals have been known to quarrel in the clubhouse.

Predicted Record: 91-71, First in NL East

Miami Marlins

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: Giancarlo Stanton continues to pound baseballs over the fence. Along with Dee Gordon, Marcell Ozuna, and Christian Yelich, this offense will score many runs.

The Bad: With the tragic loss of Jose Fernadez (R.I.P.), the Marlins don’t have an ace. The rotation is mediocre and the bullpen is just okay, lead by Brad Zeigler and Junichi Tazawa.

Predicted Record: 72-90, Fifth in NL East

New York Mets

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: The Mets have good power in Jay Bruce, Yoenis Cespedes, and Travis d’Arnaud. Along with a great pitching staff of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob DeGrom, and Matt Harvey, the Mets look poised to make a playoff run.

The Bad: With good hitting and pitching, the thing that plagues the Mets is defense. Also, this is an aging squad and with that also comes injuries.

Predicted Record: 88-74, Second in NL East

Atlanta Braves

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: The Braves added quite a few players to their roster. The additions of Matt Kemp and Brandon Phillips will improve their offense. The pitching staff gets the additions of seasoned pros, Bartolo Colon and R.A. Dickey.

The Bad: The rotation is young and inexperienced outside of Colon and Dickey. The pitching staff must work on lowering their ERA if they wish to compete for a playoff spot.

Predicted Record: 73-89, t-Third in NL East

Philadelphia Phillies

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: Breakout seasons from Aaron Nola and Vince Velasquez, along with the veteran Clay Bucholtz makes the Phillies pitching rotation a force to be reckoned with.

The Bad: The offensive lineup leaves something to be desired. Howie Kendrick and Michael Saunders are veterans that can groom some of the rookies, but the talent just isn’t in the Phillies’ bats.

Predicted Record: 73-89, t-Third in NL East

NL Central

Chicago Cubs

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: The World Series champs see much of the roster stay the same. Good output in Anthony Rizzo and Kyle Schwarber leads the offensive front and the pitching rotation has depth and talent.

The Bad: The loss of closer, Aroldis Chapman hurts the Cubs. While the pitching staff may be stacked, Jon Lester and John Lackey are in the finals seasons of their careers. Injuries could become a factor.

Predicted Record: 99-63, First in the NL Central

St. Louis Cardinals

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: The Cardinals have an ace in Carlos Martinez and other great arms in Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha pave the way for a good pitching staff. The addition of Dexter Fowler in center field will also add a good bat in the lineup.

The Bad: The Cardinals lost ace Alex Reyes, a key part of their solid rotation. Without him, the rest of the staff will need to step up and improve their best in order for the Cardinals to compete.

Predicted Record: 86-76, Second in NL Central

Pittsburgh Pirates

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: The Pirates should have a strong pitching rotation in Gerrit Cole, Jameson Taillon, and Ivan Nova this season. Andrew McCutchen is looking to bounce back and return to his former MVP style of play.

The Bad: Injuries and poor play crippled the Pirates hopes of contending last season and still could be a factor this season. Without good output from McCutchen and the starters mentioned above staying healthy, the Pirates will find themselves in trouble.

Predicted Record: 76-86, Third in NL Central

Cincinnati Reds

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: Joey Votto, Billy Hamilton, and Jose Peraza will look to build on the strong finishes that they had last season. They have a lot of young talent, however, most of it is untested rookies on the pitching staff.

The Bad: The pitching staff needs to improve. They posted a 5.09 ERA last season and were plagued by injuries. Without vast improvements, the Reds will not be seeing any chances of competing.

Predicted Record: 68-94, Fifth in NL Central

Milwaukee Brewers

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: Ryan Braun continues to hit well. The Brewers found two great pitching stars in Junior Guerra and Zach Davies and two emerging offensive talents in Jonathon Villar and Keon Broxton.

The Bad: The pitching staff lacks an ace and is overall subpar throughout the rotation. Every pitcher was below the league average in wins and struggled with command and ERA.

Predicted Record: 71-91, Fourth in NL Central

NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: Clayton Kershaw’s reliable stellar pitching and the offensive lineup of Joc Pederson, Adrian Gonzalez, and emerging talent Corey Seager will power the Dodgers to the playoffs.

The Bad: After Kershaw, the Dodgers lack depth in talent. Rich Hill is aging, Kenta Maeda struggled to close out 2016, and besides closer, Kenley Jansen, the Dodgers bullpen staff is less than ideal.

Predicted Record: 92-70, First in NL West

San Francisco Giants

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: The Giants have a great starting rotation including Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, and Matt Moore. Also, the addition of Mark Melancon will really help out the bullpen.

The Bad: The bullpen struggled last season and was the downfall of the Giants. They blew 30 saves and struggled mightily with keeping the ball in the ballpark.

Predicted Record: 89-73, Second in NL West

Colorado Rockies

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: After leading the NL in runs last season, Ian Desmond, rookie sensation, Trevor Story, Nolan Arenado, and DJ LeMahieu look to continue the hot hitting for the Rockies.

The Bad: Injuries could plague the pitching staff and possibly the lineup. Desmond and two pitchers are already injured and if the Rockies wish to return to being a dark horse contender, they need to stay healthy.

Predicted Record: 76-86, Third in NL West

Arizona Diamondbacks

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: Additions of Jeff Mathis and Chris Iannetta will vastly improve the Diamondbacks pitching core and Paul Goldschmidt looks poised to lead the offense.

The Bad: After Zach Greinke, the pitching staff doesn’t look like it will be able to support the team. After giving up the most runs last season, the Diamondbacks will need to figure out how to better their pitching staff.

Predicted Record: 70-92, Fourth in NL West

San Diego Padres

Photo Via Flickr

The Good: Wil Myers is an all-star candidate hitter. Along with additions of Manuel Margot, Austin Hedges, and sluggers Hunter Renfroe and Ryan Schimpf, the Padres offense is looking poised to be in for a great 2017.

The Bad: Like many other teams, the pitching staff seems to be the downfall of the Padres. Last season’s 4.43 ERA can’t cut it in the league. Without an ace or any strong talent in the bullpen,  the pitching staff loses the Padres any chance at contending.

Predicted Record: 67-95, Fifth in NL West

 

Tribe Times

Corey Kluber

Welcome back Tribe Fans

And we’re back, with just 56 days until opening day, you’re Cleveland Indians are busy with spring training and getting ready to make their run back to the World Series. This year we hope the result is more in our favor.

Front Office News

Rajai Davis was not given a contract so we, as Indians fans will have to thank him and always remember his 8th inning heroics in Game 7 of last year’s World Series. Thank you Rajai, we’ll miss you. In other news, Grady Sizemore will become a special assistant to the team and the farm teams. Grady was a fan favorite in his time as an Indians and will be welcomed back with cheers.

Spring Training in Goodyear

Music hit the ears of many baseball fans this past week as pitchers and catchers reported for teams. Basically, winter is over and the greatest sport in history is back. With some of the best pitchers in the league in Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco, and Andrew Miller, this season is already looking good.

Indians look to bounce back and return to the world series

The 3-1 jokes are old and dead. Now it’s a new season and the Tribe is ready to go. Once again, the Indians are favorites to go to and win the World Series. This team is the best group of players we’ve seen since the 90’s greats of Thome, Lofton, and Vizquel. With how loose and fun the guys and the club keep their demeanor, the team is in good shape. Here are some photos featured on the Indians snapchat for your amusement.

Via Indians Snapchat
Via Indians Snapchat
Via Indians Snapchat
Via Indians Snapchat
Returning to the lineup

Michael Brantley may finally play in an Indians uniform again. It’s been too long since we last saw him shagging fly balls out on the grass in Progressive Field. This year, though it looks like he will finally be able to play and make a great contribution to the team. How do we feel about that? Well, we’re all smiles.

Michael Brantley

 

The Tribe Times is a weekly newsletter updating you on everything involving the Cleveland Indians. Bringing you the latest news, roster moves, scores, and trade rumors.

7 Reasons to stop freaking out about the Cavaliers recent struggles

Image result for cleveland cavaliers
Via Google Images

The Cleveland Cavaliers went a dismal 7-8 and in January. Players and fans are frustrated and trying to figure out where things aren’t working, but there isn’t too much cause for concern. Things will work themselves out and you will probably see the Cavs in the Finals for a third straight year.

1) Eastern Conference Strength

NBA basketball lebron james cleveland cavaliers lebron
Via giphy.com

Think about LeBron’s first year back in Cleveland. The Atlanta Hawks were the No. 1 seed with homecourt advantage and the Cavaliers swept them. The same result happened last year in the playoffs. Not much need to worry about the East.

2) January was cold to all

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Via USA Today on Google Images

The Cavs went 7-8 in January, doubling their loss total on the season. But let’s look around the league. The Oklahoma City Thunder went 7-7, the Toronto Raptors went 7-9. Looking at the NCAA, the 1,2, and 4 ranked teams all lost on the same night. January is over now. Look for teams to warm back up in the upcoming months.

3) LeBron’s subtweets/public criticisms led to title

Via giphy.com

Last season, James went to twitter to vent a little of his frustration with the team and critics. Even over the offseason, he subtweeted to Dan Gilbert about getting contracts negotiated for key players J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson. Eventually, those tweets meant nothing, then the Cavs won a championship. Expect these recent comments and tweets to fire up the team and expect a return trip to the Finals.

4) There are 82 Games in a season

Image result for 82 games in a season  nba
Via Google Images

The Cavaliers are 32-16 and the top seed in the Eastern Conference. The season is almost half over and even if they continue their mediocre play, they will be back in the playoffs and most likely their 3rd straight Finals. Don’t think that the Cavs will stay this way. They have a lot of time to figure out what works and what doesn’t.

5) Key players are injured

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Via Google Images

Kevin Love is continuing to struggle with back issues that are causing him to miss time and not perform at his highest levels. J.R. Smith has been out with a thumb injury. He is a catalyst to offensive runs. Without the two, the Cavs lose two great three-point shooters. Don’t worry, they’ll be back and itching to help the team. Blowouts have happened before

6) Blowouts have happened before

Image result for warriors blow out cavs
Via Google Images

Last season on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Golden State Warriors put an epic beatdown on the Cavaliers, winning the game. This season, the Warriors bashed the Cavaliers in Cleveland 132-98. Are the Cavs nervous? N, because they realize they don’t care about beating the Warriors during the season. They care about beating them in June. The Warriors Blew a 3-1 lead in the Finals

7) The Warriors Blew a 3-1 lead in the Finals

Via giphy.com

Okay, okay, enough memes and jokes. In all seriousness, both teams are itching to get back to the Finals. It will be the decisive rubber match. Who will win? Will the Warriors avenge the blown opportunity from last season or will the Cavaliers prove they are top dog? Book your calendars you will see them go at it in June.

 

Radar Hill, the hidden land beyond campus

 

Pathway leading up to Radar Hill in Athens, Ohio

Athens, Ohio. A college town surrounded by Appalachian land with its very own miracle mile down East State Street.  At Ohio University, you will find all walks of life, pursuing all types of careers. There are journalists to engineers, marketers to health professions. All wrapped up in the hustle and bustle on a campus serving roughly 23,000 people. But, should one be looking to take a trip just off campus, a beautiful hidden gem, several in fact, are just around the corner.

As you drive into Athens, one thing becomes prevalent, there is a lot of green. From the trees to the landscaping to the school colors, there is a lot of green. Now, if you are like me, you love to go on mini-adventures and explore a little bit. I highly recommend spending a day or two going to a few of the places Athens has hidden away outside of campus. One such place is Radar Hill.

Radar Hill got its namesake by being built during World War II by the U.S Army. Later, it was used by the Air Force as a small defense research facility. Ohio University’s Radar Hill was the place for the world’s only privately operated satellite station, allowing OU and its partners to receive and transmit from the same place.

Enough about the history, what makes Radar Hill such a great spot to visit? Well, to me it’s a few things. First, the view is incredible. Once you make the short trek behind the Ridges, you will find yourself with a breathtaking 360-degree view of Athens. You are able to see for miles and miles, you can see almost the entire OU campus and the vast Appalachian land. Secondly, the hill is a great destresser. If I ever feel down or just stressed to the point of freaking out, I like to do two things, play some basketball and/or go adventuring. When you are up on the hill, everything that is worrying you just seems to melt away. Up there, you are free and life just seems as simple as the light breeze blowing around the land.

Looking down on the path up to the top of Radar Hill

Secondly, the hill is a great destresser. If I ever feel down or just stressed to the point of freaking out, I like to do two things, play some basketball and/or go adventuring. When you are up on the hill, everything that is worrying you just seems to melt away. Up there, you are free and life just seems as simple as the light breeze blowing around the land.

And lastly, Radar Hill is just a place for everyone. Nature lovers, hikers, townies, students, adventurers, almost everyone enjoys this trip up to the highest point in Athens. It truly is one of the gems of this small town.

If you would like more information on the trails or just general information on the hill and surrounding areas, I recommend visiting the  Athens County Visitors Bureau or trekohio, an online site that visits many great spots in Ohio.