Monday, September 10, 2012

The Rise of the Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore Orioles are playing out of their minds this season. A popular pick to finish 4th or last in their division in March, they sit just a game back behind the $200 million New York Yankees. The Orioles currently hold the second Wild-Card spot, which would set them up for a one game playoff against the Oakland Athletics. The most improbable number this year for the Baltimore Orioles has nothing to do with individual player statistics. It is 29. Make it negative 29. The Baltimore Orioles have been outscored by 29 runs this year. They are 16 games over .500 and are the only team over .500 that has been outscored. It's simply ridiculous. 
So what have the Orioles done to win baseball games? They simply have had magic in the air. They seem to just come up with timely hitting, solid relief pitching, and that will to win. They rank in the bottom half of the AL in ERA, Quality Starts, BAA, and walks. They are 9th in the AL in runs, 10th in AVG, and 11th in OBP. Their formula to success doesn't make any sense, but hey if it ain't broke don't fix it. They just keep winning games.

The Orioles do have positives to their team of course, as they are 2nd in the AL in HR right behind the NYY. They have a lot of players that can hit for power, as 7 players have hit double-digit homeruns this year. Adam Jones is having a great season hitting .288 with 29 homeruns. Despite all this power though, no player will break 100 RBIs, which is just flat out crazy. 

The Orioles are playing some weird, but good baseball and we can only hope they can continue (unless you're a Yankee fan). The Orioles have a pretty tough schedule to finish the season, but hey, nobody thought they could keep this up all year, so why count them out now?

We're Back!

The writers of the Point After would like to apologize for not posting the past few months. Many of us were very busy with internships and working during the summer. However, we are back in action ready for another exciting football season. Look for more posts coming shortly.
Thanks for remaining dedicated to our blog.
   "The Point After is Good"

The Greatest Time of the Year

The Fall is certainly the best time to be a sports fan. In the next two months, we will be able to see all four major professional sports in our country take the field/court/ice (if hockey ever comes back). The Fall means  the MLB playoffs are near, football is back, and basketball/hockey are going to start training camp soon. The MLB playoffs are certainly going to have a great start with the addition of another wild-card team in each league. The one game playoff will be an exciting game and each team will leave it on the field.

Yesterday was the first Sunday of the NFL season and it was definitely exciting. RGIII led his Redskins to a win in his first career game and Peyton Manning showed the world that he's still got enough to win a title. This season will certainly be interesting, as the Superbowl Champion NYG lost its opener to the Dallas Cowboys. 

The Point After hit a rough patch over the summer, but we're back and getting ready for what should be a great Fall.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Russell Wilson: Clear Choice for Pete Carroll

Last week, Pete Carroll named rookie quarterback Russell Wilson the week 1 starter for the Seattle Seahawks; a move which has been both highly criticized and praised among football analysts. 

On the surface, it seems like a bad move. Matt Flynn, the former Green Bay Packer was brought in this year via free agency to presumably start for the Seahawks. He is making $6.5 million this year. His career stats are superb even though he has only started a few games. But Russell Wilson still is the clear choice to start week 1. 

Seattle pulled a surprise move in this spring's draft, when they chose Russell Wilson a quarterback from University of Wisconsin with their third round pick. Wilson had put up great stats over his college tenure with North Carolina State University and Wisconsin. His main problem is that he is only 5"11. Most teams saw that as a key flaw believing he was too short to really ever accomplish much in the league. 

Seattle was able to look past that and draft him as a project player. The signed him to a  cheap contract (4 years, $2.99 million) and planned for him to develop for a few years. But, Pete Carroll was impressed with him after his rookie camp and declared an open quarterback competition which Wilson did eventually win. Below are a few rebuttals for several popular reasons as to why Russell Wilson should not be starting:

"Matt Flynn is being paid a lot. It is stupid for the Seahawks not to start him." Matt Flynn is  being paid a lot of money but he ranks as the 22nd highest paid quarterbacks in the league. He is the most expensive backup at the moment, but Wilson has the smallest contract of any starting quarterback.

"Matt Flynn was a waste of money and will be a major bust." Flynn could be a bust but it is too early to tell. Flynn didn't play poorly in the preseason, Wilson was spectacular. Also, if Wilson's preseason performance does not translate to the regular season, Flynn will become the starter at some point.

"Russell Wilson won the job because he played against second and third team defenses." This argument is entirely false. For the first two preseason games, he did play against second team defenses and picked them apart. But, for the third game, he started and played the entire first half against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs had a  formidable defense last year and Wilson destroyed them. The Seahawks were able to put up thirty seven points before Wilson exited. He did not throw an interception and the Seahawks scored on all of his drives meaning they did not have to punt.

"He is a fluke; If he was this good, he would have been a top ten draft pick." It is too early to say that Wilson is a fluke or to say that he is the next great quarterback. But, the talent and instincts have always been there. Despite his height disadvantage, every quarterback taken ahead of Wilson had more passes that were batted down at the line of scrimmage. When the Seahawks drafted him, one of the analysts talked about how several scouts told him that if Russell Wilson had the height of Andrew Luck or RGIII, he would have been taken as a top five, possibly a number one draft pick. 

So while it is too early to declare him a fluke or the next great passer, one thing is for sure. Wilson deserves to start for the Seahawks. His play has been remarkable and he won the job in a fair, open quarterback competition against all odds.

Programming Note: Back From Summer Break

After a long break, I am back and will be posting regularly again. I had intentions of posting regularly throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs but the preparations for my trip to England this summer took much more time than expected. While I was working in England for eight weeks I did not have time or the resources to be able to post either.

Over the next few weeks, I will be blogging about a variety of topics including Rutgers Football, the football regular season and the NHL labor negations (or lack there-of). Good to be back!