The San Fran Giants Come Up Giant-Like, NHL In The Tank, And The Mfan NFL Picks For Week 9!

Marc Elliott

FRENCH RIVER…. The Fall Classic has concluded with the San Fran Gigantes besting the Detroit Tigers in a four-game sweep. Game 4 was the first in which the Tigers put up some sort of resistance to the Giants’ onslaught, but they eventually went down, losing 4-3 in 10 innings. TV ratings were reportedly very low and that is a shame. But with the election cycle in full swing and football season as well, MLB is competing with a variety of interests for viewers’ attention. That’s too bad, because the World Series is usually the crème de la crème.

When the Fan Jr. and I were discussing the Series prior to its start, I told him that I didn’t like it that the Tiges had to sit for about four days waiting for the NLCS to conclude and for the WS to begin. When your bats are hot and your pitching is in a groove, the last thing you want to do is sit. And sure enough, the Tiges weren’t getting the same kind of hitting that took them past the Yankees in four straight, and their pitching didn’t do enough to get it done either. Tiger Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera went 3 for 13 in the WS and Prince Fielder went 1 for 13. Cabrera had a two-run homer in Game 4 to extend the Tigers’ hopes, but otherwise didn’t perform at the plate. Fielder hit total dudsville.

However, Games 2, 3, and 4 were serious games, and I can appreciate that maybe only the most diehard of baseball fans would have enjoyed them. They were both short on offensive excitement. I thought the TV coverage was good. I like the Sabremetrics pitch analysis, and the camera work was nothing short of amazing. In an at-bat for the Giants, Hunter Pence shattered a bat on a hit ball, and the frames in extreme slow-mo showed the ball making contact with the broken bat three times before being propelled into the field of play. In an at-bat where Cabrera broke a bat on a hit ball, the slow-mo showed the broken barrel of the bat literally quivering as it descended to the ground.     

In the end, the Tigers’ inability to create offense and advance runners finished them off (43 runners LOB in four games), and the Giants got some strong pitching. Consider that in the last three games of the NLCS and in the four-game WS sweep, the Giants went 7-0 and outscored their opposition 36-7 with four shutouts. Hats off to the Gigantes and congrats to the Tiges as well. Jimmy Leyland has been one of my favorite managers for a long time—the dude is flat-out old school. The Tiges had a nice playoff run and will be strong again next season. Pitchers and catchers report for spring training in 114 days! Let’s go!

THERE IS NOTHING new to report in the ongoing battle between the NHL and the NHLPA. They are not even talking at this point, and nothing is scheduled. Games through the end of November have been cancelled, and sometime this week I would look for the cancellation of the Winter Classic and the All-Star Game as well. I stand by my opinion that the owners wanted a lockout all along and that they aren’t negotiating in good faith. While many fans are all over Commissioner Gary Bettman for the lockout, seriously, he is just the owners’ spokesperson. I believe that he gets to register his opinions on these matters and advise the owners (he is an attorney), but make no mistake, this crisis is manufactured and brought to you by the NHL owners.

I have also heard fans call for the head of the PA’s Don Fehr. On their side of the fence, he is probably more of a guiding hand for the players than Bettman is for the owners. At the end of the day, though, with these two huge personalities seemingly “goin’ heels” (Wild West slang), who is ever going to win? We already know who is losing…

A FRIEND ASKED me the other day that since I don’t follow the NFL anymore, how do I make my weekly picks? Well, the answer to that is that while I don’t watch any games specifically or study stats and rosters, with all of the sports reading and viewing I do I can’t help but come across some NFL stuff on the radio, TV, or in papers I read. I do have a feel for which organizations are of the higher quality. Coaches of a team are another consideration, as well as who the top QBs are.

My regular-season picking has been average over the years at 60 to 70 percent. Where I make up ground is in the playoffs. There are not as many games to pick and the playoffs are a bit better at separating good teams from the rest of the pack. The contest I am in also discards the worst four weeks of your regular season picks, so that helps me. Last year I finished 500th out of about 10k in entrants. Not too bad for a guy who basically goes by gut feeling. This year with the weekly Thursday night games, I am finding that if I miss on that game, the rest of my picks that week will be in the toy-lay. So, I do it for fun, and more importantly, I don’t wager. Never have, never will. With MLB done for the year, my full attention is headed to the rink!! PEACE

(HOME team in CAPS)

CHARGERS over Chefs
Broncos over CINCY
Baltimore over BROWNIES
CHEESE over Cards
Bear over TENN
COLTS over Fish
Lion over JAX
TEXAN over Buff
Bucs over OAK
SEABIRDS over Vikes
NY G-MEN over Steel
SAINTS over Eagle
ATL over Boys

WEEK 7: 11-2
TOTAL: 68-49. OVER & OUT!

Marc Elliott is a freelance sports opinion writer who splits time between his hometown in Illinois and Minnesota. Elliott grew up in the Twin Cities with many of his childhood neighbors working or playing for the Vikings and Twins. He participated in baseball, football and hockey before settling on hockey as his own number one sport. Elliott wrote “The Masked Fan Speaks” column for the Lake County News Chronicle for ten years and was a prominent guest on the former “All Sports” WDSM 710AM in Duluth.