SIDELINES: This Week in Sports

Photo Credit: Getty/Ed Zurga

Photo Credit: Getty/Ed Zurga

Fantasy Football is BACK!

The start of September signifies the start of many yearly events; back to school, the beginning of fall, a fresh start. For ’tis the season of fantasy football, thus beginning a grueling 16-week journey where friendships will be ruined, contracts will be disputed and bragging rights will be held. As reigning champion of my dynasty league, the quest to repeat has begun. They say repeating is always harder, but I feel good with Patty Mahomes and Zach Ertz leading the way. I drafted Antonio Brown as well. Don’t feel too good about that. Do we think it’s week two or three where we see a ‘DNP-Helmet’ on the Raiders’ inactive list? Also Andrew Luck retired last week that was weird. Not only did T.Y. Hilton’s draft stock take a nosedive, but Luck was booed off the field by Colts fans upon discovering the news? Sounds like an opinion piece to me.


Blue Jays suck — but who cares!

The Blue Jays currently sit 35 games back of first place, are employing a revolving door of random relievers and have sent and recalled so many pitchers to triple-A Buffalo that the Peace Bridge officers are coordinating Thanksgiving with Sean Reid-Foley. But with all of that said, I’ve never had more fun watching a crap team than this year’s Jays. Seeing the lineup card begin with BICHETTE, BIGGIO, GUERRERO JR. everyday is a welcome sight, and along with the fiery arms down in the minor leagues, there is a lot to be excited about. Nate Pearson, the Jays top pitching prospect, has been virtually unhittable across all three levels he’s pitched in this year (A+, AA, AAA). Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods-Richardson — who were both acquired for Marcus Stroman — have been exceeding expectations as well; we might even see Kay when the rosters expand in September. T.J. Zeuch just threw a no-hitter in Buffalo, and the short-season A-ball Vancouver Canadians are filled with big arms, including 2019 first-round pick Alek Manoah, 2018 third-round pick Adam Kloffenstein and former Brock Badger Alex Nolan. The future looks bright in Toronto, hopefully 2020 will see the promotion of more of these high-caliber prospects.


MLB Award Races

Moving on to some good baseball teams (and the Angels), the award races in both leagues are wrapping up shortly, and while it seems like the Angels will waste yet a third MVP season out of Mike Trout, I’ll be interested to see where Rafael Devers ends up on the ballot. The Red Sox have fallen out of relevancy as of late, but Devers is putting up numbers that no Red Sox player has done at 22 since Ted Williams. The National League race is a lot more interesting; as of now the consensus one/two are the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger, and reigning MVP Christian Yelich of the Brewers. I’d throw in Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman as a third, but I’d find it hard to see anyone other than Bellinger or Yelich winning this one. While Bellinger is on a much better team, Yelich’s numbers are better in virtually every category, and we seem to not take team success into account when voting (see Mike Trout’s trophy shelf). I’d vote for Yelich. The Cy Young race is also kind of decided; Justin Verlander seems to age better than his wife, as the 36-year-old leads the AL in wins, ERA, strikeouts, WHIP, innings pitched, etc. This guy’s good (he just threw a 14-strikeout no hitter against the Blue Jays on Sunday). The NL leader seems to be the Dodgers Hyun-Jin Ryu, whose career year includes a major league leading 2.00 ERA to go along with a .750 winning percentage. Rookie of the Year is also a wash. While Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was the favourite, he’ll likely finish in second place to Houston’s Yordan Alvarez. He’s batting nearly .320, and has more RBIs than Vladdy in almost half the games. In Vlad’s defence though, Alvarez is the seventh best hitter in that Astros lineup, while Vlad is getting opposing pitchers’ best stuff night after night. In the NL, as much as I love Fernando Tatis, he’s going to finish the year playing in only 84 games, while Mets slugger Pete Alonso has over 40 homers and 100 RBIs in his first campaign. Boy does that juiced ball help out hitters.


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