#10 Michigan State Spartans-Northwestern Wildcats: Brutally Honest Preview

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Uncharted territory for the Big Ten this week. What happens when a team has already clinched a league championship game berth, but has nothing to play for beyond that? It’s the situation the Michigan State Spartans are currently in, as they’re bound for Indianapolis, but their only ticket to the BCS is if they beat the Penn State-Wisconsin winner next weekend.

So will they play their A-game at Northwestern? The Wildcats have a lot to play for- a seventh win guarantees them a bowl slot. They’re bowl eligible already, but the 2007 Wildcats were 6-6 and shut of a bowl. The Big Ten has nine bowl eligible teams, and will likely had a tenth (Purdue) on Saturday; to fill only eight slots. Of course, there’s at-large slots too. Nothing like beating a top ten team to help your bowl resume. And to do it in the season finale, the recency effect will help sell the team.

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Yankees Joe Girardi to be Honorary Captain at Northwestern-Michigan State

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New York Yankees Manager Joe Girardi accomplished a lot during his MLB career with the Chicago Cubs, St Louis Cardinals and Colorado Rockies. He’s been an All-Star, 4× World Series champion (1996, 1998, 1999, 2009) and 2006 NL Manager of the Year.

Before all that, he was a star in the Northwestern Wildcats baseball program. Girardi returns to Evanston to serve as honorary captain as the Wildcats take on the Michigan State Spartans in their Big Ten finale.

Yep baseball meets college football on Saturday.

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Detroit Tigers Hurt by Weather, Better Luck in ALCS Game 2

The Detroit Tigers have lost one game in the American League Championship Series thus far to the Texas Rangers. The weather has helped the Rangers and definitely has damaged the chances of the Tigers. This is due to the superior starters of Detroit. The greatness of Justin Verlander was neutralized in game one because he was only able to go four innings and toss eighty two pitches. This man has a chance to win the most valuable player award, but he was limited to about two thirds of his production.

It is ridiculous that Commissioner Bud Selig had the final decision on the multiple delays in game one that totaled nearly two hours. It substantially favors the Rangers because the hitters can still perform easily upon return with limited warm-up. When the pitchers come back from being cold, they use some of the arsenal meant for the game because there are only a certain amount of pitches possible for them-in game play or warming up.

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Keys to a Long Detroit Tigers Postseason Run

The suspended game on Friday night was a wash for the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers (pun intended). Detroit obviously has the advantage that the series is best of five instead of seven. This allows them to utilize the strengths of the roster and minimize its shortcomings that would be more prevalent over more games.

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The Necessary Attributes to be a Major League Manager

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There are numerous schools of thought on effective leadership. One could spend hours upon hours at Amazon.com in this section. Because the Major League Baseball season is such a grind at around ten times the length of the NFL season, the necessary traits are somewhat unique compared with other professional sports. There are the old school supporters who would back the likes of Charlie Manuel and Jim Leyland, while opponents may cite the Braves Fredi Gonzalez and the White Sox Ozzie Guillen as models.

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Derek Jeter Possesses By Far the Best Contract in Baseball

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There was a time in sports when players were rewarded for their performance on the field. It actually is more logical to pay a player for his potential rather than his resume since that is essentially the period of time for the contract. It does help to have a body of work at the highest level to convince owners and general managers to part with some of their money. Derek Jeter is definitely on the downside of his illustrious career.

Jayson Werth and Carlos Pena have taken a substantial amount of heat in the media for the terms of their contracts, but it should come on the other side of the aisle because management is the side that agreed to the terms.

By Patrick Herbert

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Memo to Yankees, Derek Jeter: Not a Leadoff Hitter

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With the moral demise of Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter is now the most revered man in all of sports.

Whether he is driving by a fire in a “Rescue Me” trailer or running out to his position in the Bronx, graceful is a word that describes him. The captain is every manager’s dream and Joe Girardi is certainly enamored with him. This is the only explanation why he is still hitting leadoff in that hallowed line-up.

It is much too small of a sample to be conclusive, but Jeter only has two postseason hits so far with no walks. One of the aforementioned singles was even on an “excuse me” swing to shallow right field. During regular season play Jeter did achieve the magical mark of one hundred runs scored; he also was effective in the extra base department with thirty doubles, three triples, and ten home runs. His sixty-three walks helped offset his low batting average of .270. His on base percentage hit .340 according to the sortable stats link at http://yankees.com (This site provided all of the statistics for this piece).

By Patrick Herbert

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Minnesota Twins-New York Yankees Series Preview

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The history in the Minnesota Twins-New York Yankees matchup may not be long, but it is storied. [Read more…]

Cubs Managerial Candidate: Joe Girardi

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This hire almost makes too much sense. Joe Girardi is a Chicago guy through and through. He starred at Northwestern and came up through the Cubs system. He has long openly coveted the Cubs’ managerial job even while with other organizations. When he was a Cubs catcher, he was a fan favorite for his hard-nosed style of play and cerebral approach to the game.

Matt Lindner’s third in a five part series highlighting who could be the Cubs‘ next skipper.

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