2011 MLB Predictions

AL East – Boston RedSox
AL Central – Minnesota Twins
AL West – Oakland A’s
AL Wildcard – New York Yankees

NL East – Philadelphia Phillies
NL Central – Cincinnati Reds
NL West – San Francisco Giants
NL Wildcard – Colorado Rockies

AL Championship – Boston over Minnesota
NL Championship – Philadelphia over San Francisco

World Series – Philadelphia over Boston
MVP – Chase Utley

I think this is like the 4th year in a row I’ve picked the Phillies, which is like a kick in the junk being a Cubs fan, but you can’t argue talent and good teams. 

Wrestlemania 27 Predictions

5 days way is Wrestlemainia, the Super Bowl or Daytona 500 of Wrestling.  I haven’t watched wrestling religiously like I have in the past in the last year.  Couple reasons, it was getting repetitive and then also Chris Jericho left for a break.  But I’d follow over email on clicking on the website, and well nothing has really changed.  A few new guys and face and heel turns, but you can catch up quick.  I caught the last 15 mins of Raw last night.  Rock got beat down by the Miz, fought back then got dropped by Cena, take a guess how Wrestlemainia is going to go?  So I will....

World Heavyweight Championship
Edge(c) vs Alberto Del Rio
--Don’t know much of this Alberto Del Rio character, but I think they give him the belt.  Maybe setting up a chance for the Taker to get a final championship run.

WWE Championship
The Miz (c) vs John Cena
--No Way, repeat NO WAY The Miz leaves with the title.  Cena wins, but after what happened to him on Raw, The Rock comes out and drops Cena to end the show.

HHH vs The Undertaker
--easy, Taker wins, its Wrestlemainia

Jerry Lawler vs Michael Cole : Stone Cold as guest referee
--Lawler’s first (and only) WM match, he’s a hall of famer, not losing to Cole. 

Randy Orton vs CM Punk
--I think this is the match of the night, and there’s not a title on the line.  You might see this match next year for a belt.  Orton wins.

Rey Mysterio vs Cody Rhodes
--Mysterio has been to the top, Rhodes is getting a push, Cody wins

Trish Stratus, Snooki, John Morrison vs Dolph Ziggler and LayCool
--as much as I hated to write Snooki, a bane on our society, Stratus and her and Morrison win

United State Championship
Sheamus (C) vs Daniel Bryan
--Sheamus destroys Bryan

Kane, Big Show, Santino, Vladimir Kozlov vs The Corre
--hey 2 guys the WWE misuses terribly, Kane and the Big Show…they’ll continue and they will lose to the Corre

***Should more matches be added through the week, I’ll add them.***
How does Christian not have a WM match?


Best and Worst of the Weekend…Cinderella Story!

BEST – The weekend was really pretty good overall starting with Friday.  Earlier in the week I won 2 tickets from 97.3 for the Iowa Barnstormers home opener for the 2011 Arena football season.  I couldn’t find a sitter for the wife to go, so offered the ticket to a buddy and he and I went.  Before the game got a couple Grainbelts and bacon wrapped tator tots at the Highlife, and those beers went down good and easy!  

The Stormer game was my first in 2 years, they added a couple local stars, Iowa’s 2002 Heisman runner up Brad Banks and ISU’s Todd Blythe.  Those 2 will probably help them sell tickets a bit this year, along with winning.  The game was really good, you can read Quentin’s (@thewood31) write up here.  Summing it up, Banks had some good plays, including a 22 yard draw that ended up being a TD, Blythe had a nice game.  The offensive line needs to improve though for the Stormers, and they need a kicker.  1-7 on PATs isn’t good.  In the end the Stormers won 43-42.  @thecooler had a couple tweets of the night at the game about the game, well crowd, around the 5 yard line too!

Saturday Addy had girl scouts in the morning,  and then in the afternoon we were going to go to the Shriners Circus at the Iowa State Fairgrounds at the new Jacobsen Building.  We get to the fairgrounds and well there were two lines out the building of about 100 people each, and I’m thinking no way, someone will get snapped.  So ending up skipping that and going to Monkey Joe’s to let the kids play.  They loved the inflatables and ran off some energy.   

Saturday night, with the help of some vodka, :), my headache from Monkey Joe’s was gone and rented a movie, How Do You Know.  It’s not an Oscar worthy movie, a chick flick comedy starring Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd and Jack Nicholson.  This was not one of Jack’s best acting jobs.  I hope he has one good movie left in him, but otherwise he might want to just ride off into the sunset.  Really weird to see Reese as an athlete, I don’t see her as a stud softball player.  Owen Wilson as a MLB pitcher?  Didn’t fit either.  Paul Rudd did a really good job though as he usually does.  About 2/5 stars, it’s worth a $1 rental.  Get some vodka to go with it!

Sunday Addy had a play date with a friend and they went to a Mad Hatter tea party and had tea with the characters from Alice in Wonderland.  Brayden and I played at home, can’t wait for next weekend when its warmer, but I love playing with his toys, thankfully I have a boy!  Barbie’s aren’t that much fun to play with. 

WORST – Well other than the mass chaos at Monkey Joe’s and all the kids, Cinderella was my worst.  My NCAA tournament bracket didn’t look to bad going into the weekend, then Cinderella decided to BUST IT.  Butler and VCU are having amazing runs in the tournament.  VCU beat my champion in Kansas and Butler has made another amazing run to reach back to back Final Fours.  One of those teams ins going to play for the National Championship. 

Tiger Woods 2012 comes this week, I’m going for the green jacket!  Will post a review of the game when it comes!  Looking forward to it.


State Funded Preschool

Ok, so with politics and state budgets and things going on right now, I’ve got one thing that has been bothering me thinking about it more related to that of the Iowa’s state budget.  State funded preschool and free preschool.  Now I don’t think that we should be cutting money on education, I think that is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT, but when it comes to funding for preschool I think there needs to be something done when it comes to free preschool. 

Should it be free for everyone?  No.  If you choose to go to a state funded preschool, and can afford to pay something, I think that it would ease some stress on the state.  I’m not trying to be a stickler or anything but if you can afford to help out and pay on a sliding scale, why wouldn’t that be a viable option?  I don’t know what the public preschools cost, but if you charge 50 bucks a kid how much revenue can be made?  100 bucks a week even for those who have a budget that can afford it? 

Now I still don’t think that it should be free either, I think that if you make it like 10 bucks a week for the lowest level of a sliding pay scale, you give that person the sense of responsibility and accomplishment to keep up paying for that.  I would have to do more research on the numbers of kids enrolled and how much those families make but I think they this would be a good move for the state and the budget and to maybe even make some revenue. 

My kids go to a private preschool that they do very well at, and we have to pay weekly.  My next statement and thought is where I may tork some people off, but if you choose to send your kids to a private preschool that receives no state funding or help, why would you allow them special privileges and not having to pay full price like others but make others follow the stated rules in a contract?  I think that anyone receiving state help should be at a state funded preschool.  Anyone at a private preschool should all have to pay the price in a contract and not have state funded rules allowed to them.   Go ahead, rip me now.   

Big Ten Football on Fox!

A while ago I predicted/blogged what will be the future of the NFL on TV….now my take on the best conference in college sports, the BIG TEN.  I’m looking this purely at football only.  Basketball is a different monster.

Currenlty the Big Ten has contracts with ESPN/ABC and the Big Ten Network, and most recenlty FOX to broadcast the Big Ten Championship game.  The ABC/ESPN deal goes through 2015 season.  Fox gets the Big Ten Title game through 2016.  As for buyouts with either I don’t know what they are, but I think there’s a better chance of a clause with ABC/ESPN than Fox.  Fox owns DirecTV and also has a stake in the Big Ten Network.

So I think it is interesting that when the Big Ten negotiated the Big Ten Title game, why didn’t it go to ESPN/ABC?  Could it be because the Big Ten-Fox marriage with the Big Ten Network?  Fox had the dipped into the college football world with the BCS for four years, but nothing during the regular season.  When the next Big Ten contract talks come up, I think you see Fox be a big player and add in college football to their slate and the Big Ten will move football from ABC/ESPN to Fox, and then of course the Big Ten Network. 

To do this though I think Fox needs to make a bigger commitment and investment into College football.  You can’t just dip your toes into it with Terry Bradshaw and Jimmy Johnson, and please NO Chris Rose or Chris Myers.  You need to grab some decent and really good anaylsts and show hosts, and I think they can and will do that. 

But also with that I’m excited, especially during conference play, of what it would mean for the Big Ten and getting all their games on nationally, instead of regionally.  With Fox and the Big Ten Network, you have 6 great time slots.  11 am, 3pm and prime time at 7pm.  ABC and ESPN can vouch for this, college football is ratings gold.  What are you going to throw on Saturday night on Fox in the fall?  Football is gold!  Now the Big Ten has a rule that no games played at night after the first week of November, that needs changed, move it to maybe the first 2 weeks in November. 

Looking at a typical Big Ten confernce week coming up, you’ll have 5 or 6 games a week.  Here are a couple examples of what your national broadcasts would look like. 

Big Ten Network
Illinois @ Indiana
Michigan @ Northwestern
Minnesota @ Purdue
Penn State @ Iowa

Ohio State @ Nebraska
Big Ten Network
Northwestern @ Indiana
Iowa @ Minnesota
Purdue @ Michigan
Michigan State @ Nebraska
Illinois @ Penn State
Wisconsin @ Ohio State
Thanksgiving Weekend
Big Ten Network
Iowa @ Nebraska
Illinois @ Minnesota
Mich State @ Northwestern
Purdue @ Indiana
Penn State @ Wisconsin

Ohio State @ Michigan

Now obvioulsy as teams play all is subject to change, but you get all the games available nationally, not regionally at 230 and 11am on ESPN or Big Ten Network.  This allows you all your conference games to be on tv.  Now when it comes to non-conference games, that would have to be worked around regionally with 12 different broadcasts, but you’d still get a chance for two primetime and two 3pm games.  No more sharing with SEC and ACC or Big East, the BIG TEN is bigger and better and more available.

Obviously also that the college basketball contract would have to be worked out some.  I don’t know if I can see FOX jump in on the college basketball front, but CBS has weekend games for the Big Ten, and ESPN would still have the games on Tuesday and Thursday, but you’d have to have all for the Big Ten Network pumping the basketball games. 

CBS is all in love with the SEC but shares them with ABC/ESPN.  But when you turn on CBS at 3pm in the fall, it’s their channel.  This is what it could be like for the Big Ten with the Big Ten on Fox! 


Morning Glory

I really liked Harrison Ford’s character in this movie, he should have been nominated for supporting role or something. Rachel McAdams looks like she should still be in college, does she age and Diane Keaton is in a typical Keaton role.  The movie is worth a rent at redbox, I give it 2 stars. 


Is Twitter the end of message boards?

In the ever expanding tools available to us on the internet, something has become clear to me….twitter is going to kill the message board.  Message boards like Hawkeye Nation and Report and everything was where fans went to get all the breaking news on your favorite teams that a fan not connected would get.  Others had info on movies and movie stars….now it’s all available in only 140 characters depending on who you choose to follow.  Easily anything breaking you will get the information from about 20 others you follow. 

And in my experience of message boards, there were people on there who I never cared for their response, or what they had to say.  With twitter you cannot follow them or just block them.  Convenience.  If you have blog or website, you can still promote all your products there easily.  In a matter of retweets too you have your blog or business splattered all the twitterverse.  You can have your same conversations with the same people on twitter.  Hash tag it for a thread. 

I look at it as the .com era back in the early 2000s.  There was a big push and then the balloon burst.  I think the time is coming soon for the end of message boards too.  Those of you who have a stake in them, I think you’re on the downward spiral of this phenomenon.  Twitter I don’t think will ever replace facebook, they are 2 totally different things.  I enjoy them both and think they are both great tools…just don’t let them overtake you.

Best and Worst of the Weekend - Big Dance

BEST - This weekend was overall really pretty good, and well it was too short and too fast.  Friday night I had my niece and nephew here along with my 3.  Shawnna went out with my mom and sister-n-law to dinner and a play.

This is how the night started....then 5 minutes later.  :)  Just kidding....all 5 kids were great.

We played Just Dance 4 Kids and MarioKart.  It was funny as heck watching the kids dance, but then I'm amazed when I see Addy dance.  She is so good and i can't wait to get her into dance.  Here are a couple videos from the weekend of the kids dancing.


My niece and nephew were great help Friday night and we had a fun time. 

Saturday my boy and I spent time at home while my wife, daughter and mom-in-law were out doing girl stuff.  We watched a movie over streaming Netflix, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse.  I love the comic book movies, and it was decent.   I don’t care as much for DC as I do Marvel, but love Batman.  The movie was decent.  I’d give it a 2.5/3 stars.  Enjoyable movie.  The new look for SuperGirl looked like a new millennium outfit.  Kids, go ahead and watch it.  My son liked it a lot too. 

My one complaint for the DC world and the Batman comics/cartoons.  Batman shouldn’t be as big and muscular as Superman.  Batman is more of a realistic hero (see Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins & Dark Knight).  Superman is an alien.  I wish they could separate those 2 worlds, but they are DC’s 2 biggest properties so I know why they do it, but that is my biggest disagreement with DC.  Make Batman a normal guy by day, not some dude on HGH.

Also Saturday went and got a tee and some wiffle balls for me and the boy (and Addy) to play.  We were going to go out Sunday morning but the wetness/mud in the fields cancelled that.  Sunday though the boy and I went to the Iowa Energy game at Wells Fargo Arena.  His first one, and he said he was going to “tickle the twine”  It was fun, he danced during the music and instead of watching the actual game, he watched it on the big scoreboard. 

Another best was his bracket.  Brayden, going into the sweet 16, is in first place of a group of 48.  He nailed the picks of Marquette, Richmond, Florida State & Butler.  I’m 80 points behind him. 

Worst – I didn’t get out and clean  out the garage and leaves and stuff.  With 3 kids and plans and Shawnna’s mom coming down, just didn’t have the time I wanted too.  But why not put of something till tomorrow when I can do something with the kids today.  Back to the grind Monday for 5 days.  


NCAA Tournament Thoughts

I didn’t know how the whole four network thing was going to work when they first announced it but after 1 night, it’s a success in my opinion.  I really like that I have all 4 channels in HD on Mediacom.  Love how CBS has the logos of the stations each game are on at the top of the screen.  Made it easier to navigate to all the games. 

I wonder how ESPN/Disney would have accommodated this?  ESPN & ESPN2 are really the only accessible HD channels they have that are freely available.  Would they have made ESPNU and Classic more readily available or put a marquee game on ABC?  ESPN needs to step up their college studio experience I think to get the big dance, or really open their wallet.  CBS does it right, right now. 

I still think that somehow, someway, some day that ESPN is big enough and has enough clout that you will see more major sports and sporting events being broadcast on ESPN.  How much does CBS and Turner really lose in showcasing the games for what they pay?  Sure they get to promote their other shows, but other than that, you got to think they lose more than they gain, money wise.

One negative, to me, is the infusion of NBA talent from Turner to the NCAA.  I don’t need Charles Barkley, Marv Albert or Craig Sager (and his suits) for a quick dip into pool and then back after a week or so run.  Give me Jay Bilas and Seth Davis.  Jay Bilas by the way had a great read posted yesterday you can read here.

The biggest negative is the First Four…really do we need them?  In a word, NO.  It’s confusing to us as fans and to the non-fans who just want to do the brackets.  Go back to 64 or expand it all to 96 and dump the NIT.

My other big negative on the NCAA is the locations.  Look at the empty seats in the arenas.  Hello NCAA!  Go to some new sites!  Des Moines would SELL OUT!  Quit going to these same towns over and over.  Does St. Petersburg or Greensboro need a regional every other year.  Rotate these things more and incorporate new cities and venues.  And for the Final Four do we always have to be in a football stadium?  Go to these great arenas in the nation.  Madison Square Garden is getting a million dollar make over, get the Final Four there.  Put a Final Four in Chicago’s United Center instead of a regional.  Not to mention these great cities with actual basketball arenas, but for a player, shooting with a football stadium backdrop is a hell of a lot different than shooting in a basketball arena. 

The games the first day were amazing.  For all the flack that the selection committee has got (and seems to always get every year) day 1 was really entertaining.  Hopefully Day 2 and the rest of the days keep it up.

I mostly have chalk today, minus the 8/9 or 7/10 games which I don’t consider upsets, to evenly matched, other than Oakland over Texas.  (Texas up 10+ as I write this).  My son and wife are on top of the Wide Right pool after day 1 too, so good for them.  My bracket I went 10-6 yesterday, I hope I can at least match that today.  So enjoy the games, enjoy the weekend!


Gusto Pizza

Tonight when I got home, I knew we were having pizza, but didn't know if it would be homemade or somewhere else.  After viewing the Greater Des Moines Pizza Tournament bracket  I noticed there were a lot of places I haven't been, and if you know me, you know I prefer local restaurants compared to that of chain restaurants, so looking at this bracket I began to want to try some of these places.

At work today my boss tossed out a menu for Gusto Pizza, a restaurant in downtown Des Moines (and the #1 seed in one of the regions).  

My wife and I each ordered a 10" pizza.  I went with the West of Philly and Shawnna choose Soprano, and dang, I can see why they are a #1 seed.  Both were AMAZING.  The flavors on both of them were great.  I liked how there wasn't the over abundance of sauce, and the toppings were something different you don't see from the Pizza Huts or Papa John's of the world.  

I definitely recommend to anyone who is downtown Des Moines to try Gusto, you won't be disappointed.

Below is a description and picture of the pizzas:

West of Philly
Alfredo, mozzarella, marinated skirt steak, mild giardiniera relish, roasted red peppers and yellow onions

Basil pesto, balsamic roasted chicken, roasted red peppers, marinated tomatoes, red onion, Asiago and mozzarella

Soprano on the left / West of Philly on the right

Gusto Pizza
1905 Ingersoll Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50311
(515) 244-8786

Kids say the darndest things…again.

So last night we were having meatloaf for supper, and well we put ketchup on top of it when we bake it.  Surprisingly we were out of ketchup…I look at my wife and say “I’ll go get some its cool, I’ll be back” 

With the nice weather my kids were outside playing on the deck coloring with chalk.  They ask were I’m going, and tell them we need ketchup.  By this time my wife was standing in the open door on the deck watching the kids as I go to the car, and then my 3 year old son Brayden comes to the deck gate and shouts “and we are outta beer too!”



The Fighter

The Fighter came out today on DVD, got it reserved on RedBox right away to watch tonight.  With a few pauses and then restarts I got through it and it was a great movie!  It's based on the story of boxer Mickey Ward and his rise to the Welterweight World Championship.  I'm going to have to do some research to see how much of it was "Hollywood" but the story and acting was great.  

Christian Bale was excellent as Dicky Ecklund and was worth of his Supporting Actor Oscar win.  He dropped weight to showcase Ecklund and had his role down.  I didn't care for Mickey's mom, portrayed by Melissa Leo (another Oscar win - Supporting Actress), it seemed as if she was using Mickey as a stepping stone for Dickey and his failures.  

Amy Adams was amazing in the role, I thought she should have won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, I thought she was Superior to Leo in this movie.  

Wahlberg didn't get the accolades acting that the other 3 did from the Oscars but he did great as Mickey Ward. He has also expressed interest in a sequel that shows Wards 3 battles in the ring with Aturo Gatti.

Going to give it 4 stars, defiantly worth a watch and rental. 


Best and Worst of the Weekend

Best – Actually getting out and having fun with the kids and there wasn’t any illness!  No Sinus infections, no ear infections, actually had all 5 of us healthy.  Friday night we stayed in and watched MegaMind.  I got a movie for Shawnna and I, Life As We Know It, but I was so zonked out that I was snoring during it.  Saturday Addy, Bray and I went and got breakfast…the kids wanted a donut and I got a mcgriddle and starbucks frappuccino.  Breakfast of Champions!  Saturday early on then was all cleaning up the kids rooms and laundry.  Addy then got to go sell more girl scout cookies with her troop at Dahl’s and Brayden got to nap.   Saturday night it was on like donkey kong with the kids playing Mario Kart.  Brayden has driving in circles down! 

Sunday Bray and I went to Bass Pro Shops and damn…when did fishing rods cost 60-70 bucks?  I did find a tent though that I think will work well for us.  The older kids wanna go camping.  Sunday also was our first trip to the Botanical Center with the groupon I purchased for the family for the year.  I remember it being bigger, but I haven’t been there since I was likes 8.  The kids had fun, then we went to Indianola for a  snack at the A&W restaurant…root beer floats.

Sunday night concluded with this year’s first grilling!  Steaks baby!  Parmesan tators and asparagus and warm chocolate chip cookies.  Winning!

Then of course it was SELECTION SUNDAY!  Got my 1 bracket filled out.  The kids and Shawnna filled theirs out.  Kids actually have some decent final fours compared to last year.  Kinda disappointed theirs went as crazy as last year.  Addy last year picked mostly teams with purple in their logos.  Brayden was dead set on his teddy bear (Oakland) vs his choo-choo train(Purdue) last year…this year both picked Ohio State.   Good Luck to all those who filled their brackets out in the Wide Right group on ESPN.

Looking forward to renting “The Fighter” this week and watching the Fab 5 30 for 30 that I dvr'd.

Worst – Well it was a good weekend overall….what sucked the most was me being tired.  I felt tired after work Friday and crashed during a movie….same Saturday night.  Sunday night I crashed hard after the Celebrity Apprentice and didn’t help much with the lil one….Shawnna let me sleep though knowing I had to come to work…or she didn’t want me to be crabby so she just didn’t nudge me.  Worst #2 is I was snacky all weekend.  Chinese on Friday I got snacky on.  Little strawberry treats that Erin brought us got me snacky too.  Need to get the 15 off and get ready for softball!


NCAA Tournament Games and More

Tis that time of year that ESPN puts out a lot of games!  And well I'm playing in most of them.  If anyone else wants to join, all these groups are FREE!  Yes I said the magic word, free.  If you are interested in a money pool for the NCAA, I can get you the info for that too.  Here are all the games!

Group: Wide Right
Password: beer

Group: Wide Right
Password: beer

Group: Wide Right
Password: beer

Pick players from NCAA Tourney Teams, get pts by their performance
Group: Wide Right
Password: beer

Group: Major League
Password: beer