Conference Finals Preview

EASTERN CONFERENCE

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Pacers vs. Heat: In a rematch of last years intense conference finals, neither team is as good as they were last year.  The Pacers have a record of 14-14 in their last 28 games and have struggled to beat the weakest teams in the NBA.  Last year they prided themselves on team chemistry while this year they are trying to rediscover who they are as a squad.  The Heat lost much of their bench scoring and they are starting to rely too heavily on LeBron.  Last year’s series went to 7 games, but this year it won’t be down to the wire.  The Pacers will be able to make it interesting in some games, but they are too inconsistent at the moment to be a serious threat and the Heat will win the series 4-2.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder

Thunder vs. Spurs: This series will be much more tightly contested than the Eastern Conference series.  Both the Spurs and the Thunder know each other well and have been rolling lately.  The Thunder however lost Serge Ibaka for the rest of the postseason due to a knee injury suffered in their last series against the Clippers.  The loss of Ibaka will seriously hinder the Thunder against the size of the Spurs.  The Spurs will come out on top to win the series 4-3 and they have the best chance out of either team to dethrone King James and the Miami Heat.

 

Instant Replay Is Killing The Game We Love

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If you were to ask any person on the street what they thought was wrong with the game of baseball, the majority of people would say that it is too slow.  In a minutes of action sense, baseball is second to last only narrowly beating out football.  Football however is loved for how intense that little amount of action is while baseball on the other hand is slow, monotonous, and boring.  With the introduction of instant replay to baseball, the game has slowed down even more and it is also taking out one of the best parts of sports in general: the controversy and debates.

There can be a solid case made for instant replay from both sides of the argument.  On the side that is for instant replay, it makes sense that fans and players would want a way to correct huge glaring mistakes made by the umps.  A couple obvious cases would be when umpire Jim Joyce famously called the runner safe at first to ruin Armando Galarraga’s perfect game in 2010.  Another would be when Todd Helton completely fooled umpire Tim Welke into one of the worst calls ever seen.  With instant replay, these calls would be all but extinct because they would be corrected and umps would have a backup to any calls they were not sure of.  This sounds all great and dandy, but it takes away the debates and controversy that all sports produce and it slows the game down even further.

For obvious reasons, having the game of baseball slow down even more would hurt their television ratings and a new generation of fans would struggle to get hooked.  But instant replay takes away the controversy and has the ability to turn the game into a robotic state.  Fans of every sport love to discuss any ludicrous calls made from the night before or any calls missed.  They may dislike when their team is cheated out of a call but the fans also realize that for every call blown against their team, a call is blown against the opposing team as well.  The calls always even out and the games always have the addictive air of uncertainty and mystery about what each game will bring.  With instant replay fans can still expect some missed calls, but these calls will be miniscule and much less frequent.  With the exception of what all the players bring to the table, the game has become more predictable and it is hurting America’s favorite pastime.

With instant replay now implemented in baseball, basketball, and football, there is now a need to perfect this technology.  There is a huge upside to the instant replay technology because the outcomes of games should be left up to the players and not a poor call by a referee or ump.  If not handled properly however, instant replay has the ability to ruin these sports and turn them into a robotic game with no uncertainty or controversy.  With everything predictable, instant replay could kill all the games we know and love.

Pros and Cons to CC’s Weight Loss

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Take a nice long look at this picture. This is CC Sabathia in 2008 as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers, when he threw a 1.65 ERA. This was the lowest tally of his career and he weighed in at roughly 300 lbs.

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Now look at this picture of Sabathia in 2010 as a member of the New York Yankees. He threw a 3.18 ERA which is the second best ERA of his career behind 2008, and he also threw a career best 21 wins. His weight in 2010 toppled the scales at 317 lbs.

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This is CC Sabathia in 2014. He has dropped down to 275 lbs and is barely recognizable but he’s looking great. There’s only one problem with this sudden weight loss…his performance on the mound has gone down drastically.

CC Sabathia came into the major leagues and was a relatively small player, given that he was 6’7″. After his rookie season he started putting on all the weight that fans from across the country came to know and love. As the years went by, Sabathia became a force to be reckoned with in Cleveland and in 2007 he won the AL Cy Young Award. Amongst all his awards and accolades he has accumulated, he proved to be a crucial component to a championship roster. In 2008, he was traded mid-season to the Milwaukee Brewers, had his career low 1.65 ERA, and gave the much needed push to put the Brewers in the playoffs for the first time since 1982. Naturally, players as good as Sabathia will be targeted by the best teams, and the Yankees snagged him after the 2008 season.

With the Yankees, Sabathia continued to be one of the most prolific pitchers in the league, as well as putting on more weight than ever before. Sabathia is famously known for eating two boxes of Cap’n Crunch cereal in one sitting. When he threw the most wins of his career, 21, in 2010, he weighed 317 lbs. In 2011 he tore his meniscus in his right knee which required surgery. This led to his first loss of weight. He lost about 30 pounds after his surgery to prevent any future problems with his knee, because no surgically repaired knee can uphold a 6’7″, 317 lbs frame. This initial loss of weight only dropped his ERA from 3.00 to 3.38 in 2012. But in 2013, Sabathia’s ERA was a whopping 4.78 and he was being hammered game after game. In 2014 he dropped down to a staggering 275 lbs with an ERA of 5.28 so far this season. He no longer is able to put 317 lbs behind every fastball he throws. In 2008, CC Sabathia’s average Fourseam Fastball scorched the catcher’s glove at 96.14 mph. In 2014, his average fastball speed has plummeted to 91.38 mph. This huge drop in pitch speed coincides exactly with his ERA change from 1.65 in 2008 to 5.28 in 2014.

With the surgery on his right knee and wanting to look better in general, no one can fault CC for wanting to shed a few pounds. Sure, there’s always the crazy Yankees fan who wants Sabathia to put back on 40 lbs so he can throw at 96 mph again, but Sabathia needs to think about his future. CC can either think short term and try to perform at his best for the Yankees and any other team he plays for, or he can think about his long term health and of his family. Many fans when looking at reasons for why players might be slumping forget that these players are people too. Obviously CC Sabathia wishes he can be slim and pitch great, but clearly he has to pick one or the other and he chose the smartest option: slimming down and thinking of life past baseball. But whether he is 317 lbs or a muscular 275 lbs, good call on cutting out the two boxes of Cap’n Crunch in one meal CC, that was a bit much don’t you think?

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