Tag Archives: preview

Previewing the 2019 MLB season

By J.D. McKay

The longest pro sports season has finally rolled around. It will not be done until November. A season that long is hard to predict, but I will try my best and hopefully get a couple of predictions correct.

National League: This league is a bit of a toss up because of the new talent. All three division winners from last season kept their star players, but some of the weaker teams added stars. For example, the Reds signed Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp. The Padres signed Manny Machado. The Phillies signed Bryce Harper and Andrew McCutchen. However, I see Harper as inconsistent and a little overrated. He has only had two seasons batting above 300 and usually bats closer to 250, very average for a MLB player.

I expect the Braves, Brewers, and Dodgers to all win their divisions for the second straight year. But I think the Reds will end their years of playing like garbage and make the playoffs as a wild card team. The Rockies will be the other wild card team. The Rockies will beat Puig and the Reds before losing to the Dodgers. The Braves will beat the Brewers in a rematch from last season’s playoffs before losing to the Dodgers who will be going to their third straight World Series.

American League: In the AL, I think that it will go about the same as it did last year. The Yankees, Red Sox, and Astros will be the best teams. The Red Sox will again win the AL east, and the Yankees will play the Angels in the wild card. Then, the Yankees will play the Red Sox and the Astros will play the AL Central champion Indians. This year the Yankees will finally get over the Red Sox but will lose to the Astros in the ALCS. For the second time in three years, the Dodgers will play the Astros in the World Series. However, this time the Dodgers will finally win in a six-game series.

Awards: This year’s AL Cy Young winner will be Trevor Bauer. Bauer is a pitcher who is very underrated. After being a pretty run-of-the-mill pitcher for the first several years of his career, he figured out his mechanics and dropped his ERA two points. He had the third lowest ERA in the majors last year and probably would have been the Cy Young winner had he pitched more innings. The NL Cy Young winner will be Jacob deGrom. Last year, his ERA was 1.70. However, with that low of an ERA, the wins did not come. He only won 10 games, had 9 losses, and 13 no decisions. The AL MVP will be Mike Trout, showing that he deserved the insane 12 year 440 million dollar contract. It honestly would not surprise me if deGrom also won NL MVP, but I will pick another actual position player. I expect Machado to win the award, even though he is on a average team.

Previewing March Madness

By J.D. McKay

We are finally into possibly the most exciting and wildest time of the year: March Madness. I will be previewing the tournament and giving you the answers to fill out the first perfect bracket ever

East: The East has the most hyped one-seed in the tournament in Duke. Led by Zion Williamson, who can only be described as a freak athlete, they have been one of the most interesting teams to watch this year. However, when their outside shots are not falling, they are very beatable. With that being said, I do not think we are going to see the first overall seed fall in the first round for the second year in a row. But I would not be surprised if they lost to the four-seed Virginia Tech in the Sweet 16 or the two- seed Michigan State in the Elite 8. In the South bracket I expect Michigan State, who is hot, to go to the Final Four.

West: The West seems to me to be the easiest bracket. The one-seed and two-seed are both good, but Gonzaga and Michigan finished the season with a loss in their conference championships. With that being said, there is not really any other team that separates themselves from the other 14 teams. Murray State has the most hyped non-Power Six player in Ja Morant. FSU is decent but not very consistent. But, I’m picking the Zags to get rolling and play Michigan State in the Final Four.

South: I get a sense of deja vu from this bracket, seeing Virginia, who lost to the 16-seed for the first time last year. I expect they do, too, and will come out prepared to beat the 16-seed Gardner-Webb University and play deep into the tournament. They also have Tennessee in their bracket, who has been solid this whole year. They lost to Kentucky once but have since beat them in their conference tournament. They have a lot of momentum and I expect them to ride that into the Final Four after beating Virginia in the Elite 8.

Midwest: This bracket has three of the most historic college basketball teams, Kansas, Kentucky, and North Carolina. I expect all three of these teams to make it to the Round of 32, but then I expect Kansas to fall to Auburn, who just beat Tennessee in the SEC Conference Championship and LSU earlier in the SEC Tournament. However, I expect North Carolina to beat UK in the Elite 8, in a rematch from the 2017 Elite 8. I distinctly remember that game because I watched in on ESPN in Guatemala with Spanish-speaking commentators. Plus, there was a huge shot made by then sophomore Luke Maye, who now leads the Tar Heels. I again expect UNC to beat UK and play Tennessee in the Final Four.

Potential Cinderella team: I do not expect any repeats of the Loyola Chicago run to the Final Four saw last year, but there are some teams that could bust some brackets this March. First off is Syracuse. The Orange are always good. They have one of the best head coaches in the country: Jim Boeheim. They are an eight-seed and could cause some problems. Another Cinderella team is Murray State. As I said above, they have Ja Morant, who is insanely athletic. He could prove to be problematic for some teams. The one other team I could see being a Cinderella team is St. Mary’s. They are coming off a conference championship against Gonzaga, where they upset the Zags.

Final Four: I picked Michigan State to play the Zags and Tennessee to play North Carolina, both of which are one vs two matchups. Michigan State will probably beat Gonzaga because they are very hot right now and are willing to be scrappy when needed as seen against Michigan in the Big Ten Championship game. North Carolina will beat Tennessee because they are experienced. In the championship game they will beat Michigan State. Two years ago, they were National Champions. Some of those players have gone pro or graduated, but other, like Maye have stuck around. Again, experience will be the factor that helps them bring the title to North Carolina.

While I was listening to this I listened to various versions of “One Shining Moment” on Youtube. It is fun to watch the best moments from the tournament on these videos, but more fun to watch the history and upsets live. Do not miss your chance to watch something you will one day tell your grandkids you saw live.

Previewing a tainted Super Bowl LIII

By J.D. McKay

As Saints quarterback Drew Brees dropped back to pass with just under two minutes left in the NFC Championship game, his chances to advance to his second Super Bowl seemed pretty high. According to the ESPN win probability, they had an 82 percent chance to win. The result of the play will be remembered in New Orleans for years to come. He threw a pass to wide receiver Tommylee Lewis that would have ended in a touchdown had it been completed, but Rams corner Nickell Robey-Coleman blew up Lewis. The ball was still five yards away from Lewis when he was hit. The refs missed the call and the Saints kicked a field goal to go up by three. Two kicks by Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein later, and the Rams were leaving the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with a trip to the Super Bowl while Saints fans were leaving with a bad taste in their mouths.

So the stage is set for the second Patriots vs Rams Super Bowl. Unfortunately, I expect the Patriots to win their sixth Super Bowl. Patriots QB Tom Brady is too good and too experienced to lose. But, I will give what both teams need to do to win the game.

Patriots- The Patriots have the ultimate cheat code on their team in Brady and Bill Belichick, but what really makes them the best team in the NFL is their running game. Running back Sony Michel has had at least 75 rushing yards in all but one of their wins. In both Playoff wins, he had combined, 242 rushing yards. In games they lost, he averaged 46.2 rushing yards per game. So getting Michel going will get the Patriots their sixth Lombardi Trophy.

Rams- The Rams have a high powered offense, but the Patriots showed that a high powered offense does not faze them when they beat the Patriots. The Rams really need to have their star-studded defense play better than they have all season and get after Brady. Their defensive tackles are Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald, who are probably the best defensive tackles in football. Donald had 20.5 sacks which is a little over one sack per game. If he could get two sacks and hit Brady as he is throwing two more times, he could throw-off Brady’s rhythm and allow his offense to out-score the Patriots and win their second Super Bowl.

Bottom line: This Patriots team is the possibly the best football team of all time. Brady is also the best postseason quarterback ever. There is no way that he will lose two Super Bowls in a row. The Rams are on their way up, but this is not their year to be Super Bowl Champions. Final score: Patriots 24- Rams 16

 

Track prepares for 2014 season

By Bryce Romig

Track season is approaching quickly, and the track team is training hard to make sure they are at the top of their game for the 2014 season.  Practicing each day after school on the track, the team is hoping to win regionals this year.

“We practice six days a week with running drills and weight lifting. All of our field event participants stay after practice and do extra work on our event,” said junior long jumper Macy Plaiss.

With all of the missed school days due to snow, the track team suffered from missed conditioning.

“For distance this year it’s a lot harder to train due to all of the snow days,” said boy’s long distance coach Tim Korte.

Although snow days have made an impact on the team, they are working hard to make up for the lost days.

‘Trying to get our practices in is harder due to the weather. We try to run anywhere from 25-35 miles per week,” said long distance runner freshman Morgan Paul.

When asked about the team’s strengths, Korte shared that they have many great returning runners this year.

“However, our shot put and discus area are our weaknesses this year. We lost our state champion Cody Hamsley,” said Korte.

The team shared their many goals and accomplishments they wish to complete this season.

“We want to win conference sectionals and regionals.  We’ve only had one regional win ever,” said Korte.

Along with winning regionals, personal records are a main focus as well.

“Everyone is really trying for PR’s. We have a much smaller team this year, but we still want to win sectionals and regionals,”said Paul.

The boys track team’s first meet will be on March 27 against Silver Creek High School.

Girls track will have their first meet on April 11 in Corydon.

“We have a pretty strong team this year, including both sprinting and distance. I’m really looking forward to competing and bonding with my teammates,” said junior Gabrielle Rodriguez.

New Kickstarter game Chaosmos premiers at Gen Con Indy

Marketer Sam Vest, in top hat, and game designer Joey Vigour, on the left, oversee a game test. Photo by Garland Noel
Marketer Sam Vest, in top hat, and game designer Joey Vigour, on the left, oversee a game test. Photo by Garland Noel

By Garland Noel

It’s the week after Gen Con, the largest annual consumer electronic, sci-fi, fantasy, adventure and hobby game convention in North America, and I am hyped. With all the deserving new projects that were presented it’s hard to pick a favorite, but the one thing I think deserves some recognition is the first game test we did that day. Chaosmos.

Designed by Joey Vigour and marketed by Sam Vest, this kickstarter project was a joy to play.  Playing is a whirlwind of bluffs, tricks, and sleight of hand, always trying to shield your intent. Although it was my first play-through I quickly found out the hard way that even though I could use brute force, a good opponent could use my headlong rush to divert attention from the game at hand. Out of the hour-long introduction we had, one thing rang truer than everything else in our play test: trust no one.  It’s like go-fish, poker, and chess with a side of deceit and back stabbing.

The idea behind Chaosmos is this — the universe is ending, so pick one of multiple aliens, find the ovoid , and remake the universe in your own twisted image. Have the ovoid at the end of the game and the victory is yours. Each alien has it’s own special abilities, weaknesses, and tactics, making the game even harder to predict, like a shell game on steroids. As the first turn ended I discovered quickly that every turn counts, each ticking down the game clock. At the end of a two-hour session I was surprised by how quickly time had passed and especially surprised by who won. In the end the player no one thought was a threat revealed the ovoid had been in her hand since turn one.

Keeping in mind that it was a play test, gamers should look forward to highly detailed miniatures, a huge item count,  and an amazing game to infuriate their friends. This will be a hit with anyone who enjoys gaming and even some who don’t.

After the con was over and everyone had left, I still want to play again. From the cool stylized miniatures to the compelling drama this game hit a homerun with my game group and I can’t wait for the Nov. 15 kickoff. Pretty good for an 8 a.m. play testing.