Thursday, August 01, 2013

My Fourth Annual List Of Apologies


I have marked the anniversary of me writing for SportsAlert by apologizing for pronouncements I have made in my columns and generally for my work on the site.  But I have to be a bit meta and note that every year I have filed My Annual List of Apologies later and later from my cherry-popping date of July 29, 2009.  I’m trying to remedy that by doing this now, so … uh, sorry for letting this anniversary column slip later and later in the year.

Gosh, where to begin?  I was wrong about the NBA Finals.  Not that the Miami Heat would win, but I had predicted that they would sweep the San Antonio Spurs.  Boy, was I wrong, and I’m glad that I am, because that was as riveting a championship series as we’ve seen in a long time.  Gregg Popovich, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker et al., made believers out of me.  Consequently, I was wrong predicting that the ratings for the series would be in the toilet.  Miami and the Spurs had to go the distance, but once the series reached Game 5, viewers could sense that this was going to be close.  So I apologize to outgoing NBA Commissioner David Stern and incoming new commish Adam Silver for thinking that NBA Finals ratings would be at or near an all-time low.

Per usual, I leaf back through my NFL predictions before the start of last season and see that I have to profusely apologize for a lot of things:

·         Robert Griffin III, I’m sorry I doubted you.  Your Washington team was much better than 5-11.

·         What can I say, Adrian Peterson?  No one thought you could come back from a bad ACL tear and then tear up the league on your way to the second-highest rushing total for a season in league history and the MVP award.  I should have stuck to my initial thought that the Minnesota Vikings would finish 8-8 (wouldn’t have mattered; you guys finished 10-6) but listened to the pessimists in my head and thought y’all would finish 4-12.

·         Where did I think Carolina would get to 12-4?  They’d better overcome yet another slow start or otherwise the Cam Newton Era there might be over.

·         On the flip side, Atlanta was much, much better than the 6-10 record I predicted for them.  Would have helped if they could’ve closed out San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game, but they are in the mix for the Super Bowl this year.

·         Why did I think Buffalo would finish 9-7?  Why would I ever think the Bills could have a decent record ever again?

·         Like with Griffin, I thought the Indianapolis Colts would be 3-13 because I thought Andrew Luck’s first season would be as rough as Peyton Manning’s rookie year.  I was very wrong about that; Luck led them to an 11-5 season and the fifth seed in the AFC Playoffs.

·         I thought the three Florida NFL teams (Miami, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville) would win a combined four games.  They won 16, although the Dolphins and Buccaneers did most of the heavy lifting (seven games each).  Yeah, I’m really sorry about that.

·         Before the season began I thought the Chicago Bears would represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.  They finished 10-6, but were aced out of the NFC Playoffs by the Vikings.  And now they have switched head coaches.  Whoops.

·         Then, before the NFL postseason began, I junked my prediction that the New England Patriots would make it out of the AFC.  My Super Bowl matchup at the time: Minnesota over Denver.  And I had all four road teams in the Wild Card round winning; only Seattle did over Washington.  What the hell was I thinking???

Going back on my early-season NBA predictions I missed only one playoff team in each conference: Minnesota instead of Houston in the Western Conference (who could have seen all the injuries that happened to that poor team?) and Cleveland instead of Brooklyn in the East (well … maybe it was a year too soon … sorry, the Cavaliers are on me).

On to women’s college volleyball, where I thought Penn St. would roll their way to another title.  Instead they got tripped up by a very game Oregon squad.  Frickin’ Oregon – they win everything!  Maybe that’s why I didn’t think the Ducks had a chance.  Fine, sorry, Oregon – didn’t mean to denigrate your women’s volleyball program or your anachronistic performance center for your football program.

I need to go back to 2012 Major League Baseball season.  I didn’t think the Baltimore Orioles had a chance, so I put them dead last in the American League East; they wind up snagging a Wild Card spot.  On the other hand I thought this was finally the year the Toronto Blue Jays would make it into the playoffs.  Despite their roster turnover the past two years, they didn’t make it last year, and they sure as hell ain’t gonna make it this year, either.  On the National League side, I totally thought the Philadelphia Phillies were going to make win the N.L. East while the Atlanta Braves finished fourth; I overrated my pick to win the N.L. Central, the Milwaukee Brewers, while I thought the eventual champions, the St. Louis Cardinals, would wind up in third place; and I thought the Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies (my 2012 World Series champion, by the way) would come out of the N.L. West.  The San Francisco Giants, the team that actually won it all last year?  I had them fourth.

In regards to last year’s MLB playoffs, I did get San Francisco winning the World Series after they reached the playoffs.  However, I thought they would defeat the Orioles, and they lost to the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series, so I apologize for that.

Let me get a head start on this year’s MLB season, too.  Sorry for thinking the Boston Red Sox would be the Boston Red Sux and finish dead last with 91 losses.  I’m really sorry for predicting that the Washington Nationals and the Phillies would make the postseason.  And while I think the jury should still be out with two months left to go in the regular season, I’m getting ready to say sorry for underestimating my now-red hot L.A. Dodgers.  Maybe having a good baseball team is all about buying as many good players as you can.

March Madness, oh crap … I once again finished closer to the bottom of my hundreds-long NCAA tournament pool, so I don’t know why I keep thinking I know anything:

·         Sorry about eliminating Wichita St. in its first game;

·         Sorry to believe that Michigan, sporting its 52nd-most efficient defense, wouldn’t even sniff the National Championship Game;

·         I did get two 12-over-5 games, Cal over UNLV and Oregon over Oklahoma St.  But I’m sorry I didn’t see Wisconsin losing to Ole Miss and that crazy weirdo Marshall Henderson.

·         I named a few Cinderellas: Belmont, Oklahoma and Cal.  They won one game between them.  Sorry about that.

·         Plus I am sorry for not seeing La Salle and Harvard and Florida Gulf Coast coming.  Granted, no one did, but I’m sorry anyway.

·         Sorry for sticking out my neck and predicting North Carolina would upset Kansas.  The Jayhawks were not as good as their record, and Michigan took care of that in a thrilling game in the next round.  But I did not see that the Tar Heels were not equipped to take out a Kansas team that had so much talent.

·         I am sorry to pick Indiana to win the title.  Louisville was considered the odds-on favorite, but I didn’t want to pick the odds-on favorite, and the Hoosiers were a contender that I thought had the goods to win six games.  Did not see them getting destroyed by Syracuse.

·         Subsequently, I am sorry to pick the Orange once they reached the Final Four.  It was an overreaction – picking the team that beat my winning team as my new winning team.  Have to learn how to stop doing that.

Finally, I once again whiffed on the Kentucky Derby.  I am sorry to pick Revolutionary to win The Run for the Roses.  I made that selection because he was ridden by Calvin Borel, who has won the race three times.  But the last time was three years ago.  Sure, only three other riders have won since he last won, but I think I give his record too much weight.  For all I know all the other jockeys blackball him on the track to make sure he doesn’t win a fourth Derby.

But at least I was right in saying Orb would not go on to win the Triple Crown.  No horse will ever win the Triple Crown again, and people have to stop falling over themselves saying the next Derby winner will.

Posted by WilliamSou at 1:47 PM

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