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2011 Predictions: 50 Bold Predictions For Next Year In Sports

2011 predictions are on every sports fan’s mind as the holidays near. Here are predictions for 2011 in the sports world:


Adrian Gonzalez wins the American League MVP award after taking advantage of friendly confines of Friendly Fenway Park.

The Philadelphia Phillies defeat the Boston Red Sox in Game 7 of the World Series behind a masterful four-hit shutout by…Pedro Martinez.

Derek Jeter hits the midway point of the season with a sub .700 fielding percentage. He’s still the most liked man in New York.

Zack Greinke wins the National League Cy Young Award and helps the Milwaukee Brewers to the National League Championship Series.

Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer combine for the best offensive duo in Major League Baseball, leading the Minnesota Twins to the American League Championship Series.

Carl Crawford finishes second behind Adrian Gonzalez in American League MVP award voting.

After missing out on signing Cliff Lee, Nolan Ryan comes out of retirement to sure up the Texas Rangers bullpen.

The Baltimore Orioles win the American League Wild Card before falling to Minnesota in the Divisional Series.

San Francisco’s Brian Wilson signs a sponsorship deal with Armani and cleans up his act. He mentions Major League 2 as his favorite movie.

The New York Yankees trade the naming rights to the new Yankee Stadium to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for Felix Hernandez.

Albert Pujols signs a 10-year, $300 million extension with the St. Louis Cardinals.

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen says something politically incorrect to a group of reporters, but none of them hear him clearly because of his thick accent.

Cleveland catcher Carlos Santana hits .320 with 28 home runs and 110 RBI to lead the Cleveland Indians back into relevance.


LeBron James and the Miami Heat fall to the Boston Celtics in a heart-wrenching Game 7 after being up 3-0 in the series.

The New Jersey Nets select Duke’s Kyrie Irving with the first pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Carmelo Anthony leads the New York Knicks to the Eastern Conference semifinals where they lose to the Miami Heat.

Dirk Nowitzki earns his second NBA MVP award while leading the Dallas Mavericks to the NBA Finals.

Shaquille O’Neal assumes the name of The Big International and becomes the biggest—figuratively and literally—star in Turkey.

Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder knock off the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals before falling to the Mavs in the Conference finals.

Joakim Noah returns to the Chicago Bulls, who go on to win 16 straight games from February to March and clinch the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Blake Griffin holds his Rookie of the Year trophy up proudly.

Antoine Walker averages 12 points, four rebounds and seven missed three-pointers in four games with the Memphis Grizzlies in March.

Glen Davis of the Boston Celtics wins the NBA’s Sixth Man award.


Brett Favre retires, maybe. Well, I’m not sure. But he might. Or he might not.

Sal Alosi goes 2-1 in a “celebrity” boxing circuit. His lone loss was a disqualification and came after tripping his opponent.

After undoubted success with its first outdoor home game in 30 years, the Vikings tear the rest of the Metrodome’s roof off and play under the cold Minnesota sky.

Versus announces the launch of a new reality show called Straight Cash, Ocho, starting Randy Moss and Chad Ochocinco.

Tom Brady cuts his hair after being asked to play George Harrison in a Beatles reunion.

Donovan McNabb runs windsprints throughout the offseason while Mike Shanahan watches silently.

Alex Smith, Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford and Matt Flynn become the next batch of great NFL quarterbacks.

The Dallas Cowboys become the first team to host a Super Bowl party next to where the Super Bowl is being played.

The NFL Players Union and its owners will agree on a new collective bargaining agreement in April, days before the NFL Draft.

The Minnesota Vikings sign free agent quarterback Michael Vick to a four-year deal.

The New England Patriots defeat the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl, pushing Tom Brady and Bill Belichick up another level among the greats.

The Cincinnati Bengals acquire free agent wide receiver Randy Moss and go winless in their first eight games of the 2011 season.

Jenn Sterger is hired by ESPN as an NFL analyst.

Tom Brady is named the NFL’s Most Valuable Player.

Back to full strength, the Indianapolis Colts finish the regular season 16-0.

College Basketball:

The UConn women win another NCAA championship with an undefeated record.

Duke finishes with a 32-1 record, erasing a February loss to Temple with a win in the National Championship game.

College Football:

Jim Harbaugh takes over at the helm for the Denver Broncos.

Iowa lands itself in a BCS Bowl, despite offseason investigations into drug use.

Syracuse knocks off UConn for the Big East championship, clinching a BCS bid.

Mark Cuban loses $500 million in a failed effort to develop a College Football playoff.

Boise State goes 11-0 and fails to make the National Championship game.

Cam Newton is the first pick in April’s NFL Draft and becomes one of Jimmy Clausen’s go-to weapons in Carolina.


Tiger Woods wins the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open in his best season ever on the PGA Tour.

Sergio Garcia finally wins a major, taking home the PGA Championship.


The Pittsburgh Penguins win the Stanley Cup over the Dallas Stars.

Tim Thomas helps lead the Boston Bruins to the Eastern Conference finals.

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Cliff Lee Press Conference: 5 Key Observations

Cliff Lee was officially introduced as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies this afternoon in a press conference at Citizens Bank Park. 

Given the extreme interest in the pursuit of Lee, the offseason’s most prized free agent, this comes as huge news to fans of the Phillies and Major League Baseball. 

With the way Lee’s five-year, $100 million deal went down, there were plenty of things to learn in the official introduction of the star left hander.

Here’s what we learned: 

It Was Never About the Money 

We all know that Lee left upwards of $50 million on the table by taking Philadelphia’s five-year, $100 million offer over larger and longer deals on the table from New York and Texas. 

After today’s press conference, we know that it was never about the dough for Lee and his family. He said, “At a certain point, enough is enough with the money.” And given the numerous times he talked about how Philadelphia was the best fit for his family, we should take him at his word.


Lee Pushed the Deal Through 

Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. admitted that he wasn’t confident that he could pull off the deal for Lee initially. When talks simmered following the World Series, Amaro said it looked as though they wouldn’t be able to get him. 

It wasn’t until Lee and his wife Kristen pursued the deal with Philadelphia that the talks picked back up. It’s clear Lee picked the place he truly wanted to go. 


The Phillies Have One Year to Win With This Team 

With nearly $300 million committed to Lee, Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard, it’s clear that the Phillies won’t be able to retain the services of Cole Hamels and Jimmy Rollins when their contracts expire after Amaro’s comments about next offseason. It’s also worth noting that Chase Utley is signed through 2013 at $15 million per year. 

While the Phillies rotation, with or without Hamels, is perhaps the best in the game, Philadelphia has a limited window to win with this bunch. 


Lee Wasn’t Scared to Pitch In New York 

This is something we certainly believed over the last two postseasons when Lee showed his best stuff while pitching in Yankee Stadium, but the interesting way in which this deal went down, fans had to wonder why Lee wouldn’t just take the money and run. 

It’s clear there were no holdups with playing in New York. Cliff Lee just wants to win. 


The Washington Nationals Made This Deal Happen

It’s clear that if the Phillies re-signed outfielder Jayson Werth, they wouldn’t have had the resources to acquire Lee. When the Nationals signed Werth for $126 million, they, in turn, allowed one of the best pitchers in all of baseball to go to a divisional opponent.

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Zack Greinke Trade Rumors: What Does Cliff Lee to Phillies Mean for Greinke?

Zack Greinke trade rumors have kicked up a few notches over the last 12 hours after reports surfaced that prized free agent Cliff Lee signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Lee’s decision to sign with the Phillies over a larger offer from the New York Yankees and extreme interest from the Texas Rangers all but shocked the baseball world.

Lee joins Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels in what will be perhaps the top starting rotation in all of baseball.

Throughout the highly anticipated free agency process, Greinke has served as sort of a backup option to teams in the event they did not land Lee.

Given the fact that both the Yankees and Rangers, along with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, have lost out on Lee and other prized free agents, expect the interest in a trade for Greinke to only increase.

Prior to news of Lee’s deal with the Phillies, it was reported that the Yankees would be reluctant to go after the Kansas City Royals right-hander if they missed out on Lee. New York’s contingency plan in the event that it lost out on Lee has always been focused on beefing up the bullpen.

Of course, these reports surfaced prior to news of Lee signing and when the Yankees, who had reportedly offered Lee a seven-year, $148 million deal, were bound to land the free agent. One can only wonder if New York’s Plan B changes this morning with the confirmation of Lee’s five-year, $120 million deal with Philadelphia.

Late Monday night,’s Jerry Crasnick reported that the Kansas City Royals were “actively gauging” the trade market for Greinke. The Royals are reportedly looking for up-the-middle position players close to being ready for action in the big leagues. The report noted that the Yankees and Brewers were not among the best potential matches for a trade.

Other potential landing places for Greinke predicted in reports over the last few days include the Washington Nationals, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

With Lee off the table, Greinke is perhaps the top pitcher available for teams interested. The Royals know well that when Greinke becomes a free agent at the end of the 2012 season, they’re unlikely to have the resources to retain him.

All of that said, I don’t think this will come down to the bigger market teams like the Yankees swooping in and picking the right-hander up. The Royals value prospects highly, and it’s going to take the right package for Kansas City general manager Dayton Moore to pull the trigger.

The deal Lee signed is bound to leave the MLB Players Union scratching its head. Lee left money and years on the table by signing with Philadelphia. Both New York and Texas had reportedly offered him more than the five-year, $120 million deal he inked with the Phillies.

When it comes time for his next payday—regardless of which team it will be with—Greinke’s contract will surely be impacted by the bargain deal Lee signed.

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