Monday, August 15, 2016

2011 Christy Awards Held in Atlanta

The 12th annual Christy Awards were held on Monday, July 11, 2011, at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta. Staged during the International Christian Retail Show each year, the Christy Awards recognizes excellence in novels written from a Christian worldview. The award encompasses nine categories and is named in honor of one of the most famous characters in Christian fiction. Catherine Marshall’s novel Christy has sold more than 10 million copies and was the basis for the CBS television series of the same name.

This year’s awards ceremony was hosted by Liz Curtis Higgs, the award-winning historical novelist who also penned the nonfiction series Bad Girls of the Bible. With her respect for the Christy, love for her fellow writers, and quick wit, there could not have been a better choice to emcee.

The Christy Awards’ Executive Director Donna Kehoe presented the attendees with her Year in Review recap before introducing the night’s keynote speaker, Randall Wallace.

Wallace is the Academy-Award nominated screenwriter of Braveheart, Pearl Harbor, The Man in the Iron Mask, and We Were Soldiers. Wallace’s eighth book, The Touch, is set to be released by Tyndale House Publishers on September 1, but, notably, Wallace ne’er made mention of his own novel. Instead, he regaled the nearly 200 in attendance, and a few hundred more listening via Liveblog, with tales of his studies at Duke University’s Divinity School (He didn’t believe writing was a profession which would afford him a decent living), his early work in Hollywood (Including the devastating effects of a year-long writers strike on his employment), and the quirks of making an American film on Scottish history using an Irish cast.

The evening capped with the announcement of the 2011 Christy Awards winners. Here is a list of all the nominees with winners listed first.

Contemporary Romance

Sworn to Protect by DiAnn Mills

Blood Ransom by Lisa Harris

Indivisible by Kristin Heitzmann

Contemporary Series

The Reluctant Prophet by Nancy Rue

The Thorn by Beverly Lewis

The Waiting by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Contemporary Standalone

Almost Heaven by Chris Fabry

Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner

A Season of Miracles by Rusty Whitener

First Novel

Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Crossing Oceans by Gina Holmes

A Season of Miracles by Rusty Whitener


While We’re Far Apart by Lynn Austin

Chosen: The Lost Diaries of Queen Esther by Ginger Garrett

For Time & Eternity by Allison Pitman

Historical Romance

The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen

She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell

Within My Heart by Tamera Alexander


The Bishop by Steven James

The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker

Predator by Terri Blackstock


To Darkness Fled by Jill Williamson

Konig’s Fire by Marc Schooley

The Last Christian by David Gregory

Young Adult

Motorcycles, Sushi, and One Strange Book by Nancy Rue

The Charlatan’s Boy by Jonathan Rogers

The Healer’s Apprentice by Melanie Dickerson

This year’s Christy Awards saw a notable first. The award has never been won in two different categories for two different books by the same author before this year’s double triumph by Nancy Rue in the Contemporary Series category (The Reluctant Prophet) and the Young Adult category (Motorcycles, Sushi, and One Strange Book).

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2011 Atlanta Braves Spring Training Schedule Highlights

Champion Stadium at Walt Disney World comes alive with the roar of Braves’ fans beginning February 26th. Whether fans are wishing to see the Atlanta Braves in action under the guidance of a new manager, or if they are there to see one of the greatest National League rivalries, as the Atlanta Braves face the New York Mets, this game will definitely draw fans.

The 2011 Atlanta Braves Spring Training Season will not only attract fans because of well-known rivalries, but many spectators will be interested in watching how new manager, Fredi Gonzalez meshes with his new team. Nostalgic Marlins fans will want to attend March 23rd to see Gonzalez, if they can not make the drive to the March 7th game in Jupiter, Florida .

One player to watch out for is long-time Braves 3rd Baseman, Chipper Jones. Out for the better part of the season with a torn ACL, Jones’ age may or may not have hindered his playing. While there are many players older than 39 (Jones’ age this season) that play extremely well into their mid-40’s, having an injury at a later age means the body has already had more years of wear and tear on it than younger players. However, the experience, leadership and knowledge about the Braves organization is what truly makes Chipper Jones an asset to the team.

Dates to experience some of the most popular rivalries will leave most Atlanta Braves’ fans scrambling to the Ticketmaster site or the Champion Stadium Box Office, as there are only limited dates when the full squad takes on their rivals. February 27th, March 5th, and March 12th are dates to see the Braves vs. Mets, while March 27th is the only day to see the Braves vs. Phillies at Disney’s Champion Stadium.

Other dates of interest include some popular American League teams. The Braves take on the N.Y. Yankees on March 8th and the Boston Red Sox March 16th. Both of these events are scheduled to have a full line-up, so you will definitely be able to spot some of your favorite players.

One person of interest, who will be absent from the game, is former Atlanta Braves Manager, Bobby Cox, who retired last season. Always one to stick up for his players, I will miss seeing the predictable, and at times entertaining, ejection of Cox from a Braves game.

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2011 Chevrolet Cruze Fuel Economy, Eco Details Officially Announced

General Motors have announced the official fuel economy number for the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco, a very fuel efficient version of the Cruze. According to GM, the car gets an EPA-estimated 28 MPG in the city and 42 MPG on the highway, both values available for manual transmission models. This is pretty impressive, considering the value is better than that of hybrids like Ford Fusion Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid or Toyota Camry Hybrid.

In order to get the fuel consumption as low as possible, GM engineers focused on three aspects: aerodynamics, weight reduction and powertrain upgrades. A large part of the aerodynamics improvements were “borrowed” from the Chevrolet Volt and include a lower front grille air shutter (closes at high speeds and opens at low speeds) and ultra-low resistance 17-inch Goodyear tires. All of these efforts were worth it, because GM says only the aerodynamics improvements contribute to a 6 MPG economy.

In order to reduce weight as much as possible, 42 changes were made, which brought down the car’s total weight to 3,009 pounds (1,365 kg), more than 200 pounds (100 kg) less than the regular Cruze 1LT. These changes include reduced weld flanges, thinner sheet metal gauge and lighter 17-inch alloy wheels.

As for the powertrain, the Chevrolet Cruze Eco is powered by a 1.4-liter Ecotec turbocharged engine that delivers 138 hp (103 kW) and 148 lb-ft (200 Nm) of torque between 1,850 and 4,900 rpm. The engine is mated to an extremely optimized six-speed manual transmission, which, according to the press release “includes aggressive ratios for first and second gear coupled with a highly efficient, “taller” sixth-gear ratio for highway driving.” Also, a six-speed automatic gearbox is available, but it increases fuel consumption to 26 MPG in the city and 37 MPG on the highway.

“Chevrolet Cruze continues to redefine the compact segment, offering class-leading standard safety features, upscale amenities – as well as hybrid-like fuel economy without the price,” said Chuck Russell, vehicle line director. “The Cruze Eco is in a league of its own and will challenge perceptions of the efficiency available in a more affordable non-hybrid.”

“We left no stone unturned or piece of sheet metal un-weighed,” said Russell. “Our engineers were comprehensive and thorough when it came to evaluating and modifying the aspects of the car’s performance that contribute to fuel economy.”

The Chevrolet Cruze Eco is scheduled to go on sale in January 2011, with an MSRP of $18,895 including destination charges.

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2011 American Music Awards: Taylor Swift Wins Artist of the Year, Bieber Goes Empty Handed (Complete List of Winners)

It was hard to tell if the American Music Awards Sunday night (November 20) was a three- hour long variety act of one musical performance after another and then an awards show as a mere afterthought. That’s exactly the way it was presented. In between the acts you had presenters come out either introducing the musicians or giving out an award. Not all categories were presented live in the telecast, only six were left out. You could see them listed very quickly in the closing credits.

Taylor Swift ruled the night winning three awards, two for her genre in country and the prestigious Artist of the Year. However, Adele won three AMAs, only one category was presented live in the one she won for, Favorite Pop/Rock Female Artist. Unfortunately Adele was not in attendance as she was recovering from vocal cord surgery. The celebrity presenter accepted the award in her place. Other no shows were Beyonce who won Favorite Soul/R&B Female Artist. She presented a video tape message thanking her fans while taking it easy before the birth of her baby. Rihanna won Favorite Soul/R&B Album since she was in the middle of her tour in Europe thanking fans via her video.

Katy Perry performed her latest song for the first time in front of an audience. It was unlike any of her high-energetic hits from the past. This was a ballad from start to finish that sounded like a country song. Afterwards, she was presented with a special achievement award for being the first female artist to have five number one hits off one album. Other recipients of this award included Michael Jackson, Prince and Mariah Carey.

Nicki Minaj opened the show with a futuristic laser light extravaganza featuring her costume with smashed up beer cans on her rear-end. She was truly overjoyed to win not one, but two American Music Awards for Favorite Rap/Hip Hop Artist and Album. Maroon 5 won their first award. Bruno Mars beat out Justin Bieber for Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist. Bieber was on earlier in the show singing a track from his Christmas album that was not only out of place, but out of tune. Closing out the award show or never-ending concert, take your pick, was LMFAO performing a mashup of their hits. I could have done without their so-called strip show towards the end. On a better note here is a complete list of winners from Sunday’s 39th Annual American Music Awards:

Adult Contemporary Artist: Adele

Alternative Rock Artist: Foo Fighters

Contemporary Inspirational Artist: Casting Crowns

Country Female Artist: Taylor Swift

Country Male Artist: Blake Shelton

Country Band, Duo or Group: Lady Antebellum

Country Album: Taylor Swift, “Speak Now”

Latin Music Artist: Jennifer Lopez

Pop/Rock Female Artist: Adele

Pop/Rock Male Artist: Bruno Mars

Pop/Rock Band, Duo or Group: Maroon 5

Pop/Rock Album: Adele, “21”

Rap/Hip-Hop Artist: Nicki Minaj

Rap/Hip-Hop Album: Nicki Minaj, “Pink Friday”

Soul/R&B Female Artist: Beyonce

Soul/R&B Male Artist: Usher

Soul/R&B Album: Rihanna, “Loud”

Artist of the Year: Taylor Swift

New Artist of the Year: Hot Chelle Rae


American Music Awards,

Melissa Ruggieri, “American Music Awards: Remember when they mattered?”,

Tim Molloy, “American Music Awards: The Complete List of Winners”,

Tags:2011 American Music Awards: Taylor Swift Wins Artist of the Year, Bieber Goes Empty Handed (Complete List of Winners)

2011 Boston Science Fiction Film Festival Review

One of my favorite film festival ventures each year is traveling to Boston to take in the 2011 Boston Science Fiction Festival. This annual excursion for me as a film producer and consultant is one of the more stimulating and unscripted events of my calendar. This is a firsthand review of the star searching film festival that explores the realms of the unknown at the Boston Science Fiction Festival.

Upon arrival on Sunday I immediately noticed the scenery in Boston was decorated with all kinds of fun imagery and banners to create a great atmosphere for science fiction. I attended a shorts program entitled “Retro Speculatives.” The first film of this group that stood out to me was “The Poster.” This chilling glimpse into an eerie world was directed by Evan Peters who spoke after the film about his experiences creating surreal settings and working with special effects. I enjoyed his comments that emphasized the importance of the physical cast reacting to an unusual environment as the make or break point for believability in film. He stressed the importance of using the real world to create unworldly science fiction.

I also spoke to director Bob Quinn about his work in “Battle Beyond Belief.” His work went far beyond the alluring alliteration of the title. This film compounded a large story into a short amount of time. The movement and flow of the film wasted no time or effort in keeping suspense and mystery high for the audience who was able to sit back and enjoy not wanting to miss a moment.

I was surprised to see a new category set aside for the best Japanese animated features of the year. The main feature animation was “Summer Wars.” This animated presentation as an award winning collection of films that put a brief break into the real world and special effects and spotlighted some excellent hand drawn and computer animated works. I was surprised to learn of the expense of the animation project which involved hundreds of hours of delicate labor to place the animations perfectly.

This year marks the 36th annual film festival held in Boston to honor excellence in the Science Fiction Genre and it was the biggest one yet. The event was nonstop and the tightly packed schedule was well organized to keep movie goers excited and energy at an all time high. I hope to be in attendance again in the future.

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2011 ABC Family's 13 Nights of Halloween Movie Lineup Schedule

The ghoulish movies that inhabit everyone’s television sets are hear again. The ABC Family Network has again announced its 13 Nights of Halloween schedule lineup. Watch spooky favorites such as Beetlejuice and Hocus Pocus. There are also a few new favorites in the Halloween movie lineup, including the television lineup, including the tv network premiere of Coraline.

Also look for favorites of The Addams family, Monsters, Inc., and Van Helsing. This year’s lineup begins on October 19, 2011 and kicks off with a marathon of Pretty Little Liars, as well as a Pretty Little Liars Halloween Special. Also new this year is an ABC Family Premiere of Bewitched. Scooby Doo, Casper, and The Haunted Mansion are among this year’s favorite Halloween movie lineup.

Here is the 13 night lineup. All times listed are Eastern Standard Time. For Central time zones, count one hour back.

The ABC Family 13 Nights of Halloween Lineup is as follows:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 ABC Family 13 Days of Halloween Movie

11:00 am – 8:00 pm Pretty Little Liars Marathon

8:00 pm Pretty Little Liars Halloween Special

Thursday, October 20, 2011 ABC Family 13 Days of Halloween Movie

9:00 pm Hocus Pocus

Friday, October 21, 2011 ABC Family 13 Days of Halloween Movie

9:00 pm Beetlejuice

Saturday, October 22, 2011 ABC Family 13 Days of Halloween Movie

8:00 pm The Addams Family

Sunday, October 23, 2011 ABC Family 13 Days of Halloween Movie

8:00 pm Network Television Premiere of Coraline

Monday, October 24, 2011 ABC Family 13 Days of Halloween Movie

6:00 pm Melissa and Joey Halloween Special

6:30 pm Bewitched

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 ABC Family 13 Days of Halloween Movie

7:00 pm The Haunted Mansion

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 ABC Family 13 Days of Halloween Movie

7:00 pm Disney/Pixar’s Monsters, Inc.

Thursday, October 27, 2011 ABC Family 13 Days of Halloween Movie

9:00 pm Scooby Doo

Friday, October 28, 2011 ABC Family 13 Days of Halloween Movie

7:00 pm The Addams Family

Saturday, October 29 ABC Family 13 Days of Halloween Movie

8:00 pm Hocus Pocus

Sunday, October 30, 2011 ABC Family 13 Days of Halloween Movie

8:00 pm Van Helsing

Monday, October 31, 2011 ABC Family 13 Days of Halloween Movie

7:00 pm Casper

Source: ABC Family Network

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2011 American League West Preview

The 2010 American League World Series representative came from the AL West as the Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees before falling to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series. With Cliff Lee and Vladimir Guerrero exiting Texas and Michael Young wanting out, Texas might take a step back this year making things very interesting. Here is how I see the AL West playing out.

1st – Oakland Athletics – Maybe I’m reaching a bit, but I think the A’s have a shot this year. They finished in second place last year, and this year they have a few more bats in their lineup to help out their pitching. The A’s outfield has Josh Willingham, Coco Crisp, and David DeJesus. Not great, but not exactly bad either. Their infield has Kurt Suzuki, Kevin Kouzmanoff, Daric Barton, Mark Ellis, and Cliff Pennington. The A’s real strength is in their pitching. Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, and Dallas Braden are a pretty decent one through four. If Rich Harden can actually spend time on the field and not the DL (not likely) that will also be a nice contribution for Oakland. Oakland’s bullpen is what will help them win this year. Andrew Bailey, Grant Balfour, and Brian Fuentes are a nice back end of that bullpen.

2nd – Texas Rangers – The Rangers will still have a decent enough team to compete, but I don’t think they will take the division. Their outfield consists of Josh Hamilton, Julio Borbon, and Nelson Cruz, but I wouldn’t bet on Hamilton making it through a whole season. The Rangers have a nice infield with some pop. Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler, Chris Davis and Mike Napoli behind the plate can all mash, and with Elvis Andrus on the base paths, they will provide some good run support. The rotation still has C.J. Wilson, Tommy Hunter, and Scott Feldman, but not having Cliff Lee hurts. Texas also took a chance on Brandon Webb, which could pay off huge dividends. The bullpen is ok with Neftali Feliz as their closer, but I’m still not sold on them.

3rd – Los Angeles Angels – The Angels have a decent starting rotation which is going to keep them in a lot of ball games this year. Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, Ervin Santana…that’s a nice 1-2-3. If Scott Kazmir can stay healthy, blah blah blah (See Rich Harden Above). The Angels decided to take Vernon Wells and his ridiculous contract, but he’s still a nice addition in the outfield along with Torii Hunter. LA will be happy to have Kendry Morales back at first and it’s looking like Bobby Abreu will be their DH this year. Howie Kendrick is one of the better second baseman in baseball. Their bullpen is a shell of what it has been over the last decade, but can still get the job done. I could even see this team sneaking into second place in 2011.

4th – Seattle Mariners – The only time you can mention the words ‘first’ and ‘Seattle Mariners’ is when you talk about Felix Hernandez and the Cy Young award or David Aardsma and the phone book. Yes Seattle still has Ichiro in right field, but who on this team will drive him in? Felix Hernandez will put together another good year, but the rest of the rotation is a mess. As for their bullpen…let’s just say there were several reasons why Seattle went 61-101 in 2010.

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2011 Big Ten Conference Tournament Schedule Released

The 2011 Big Ten Tournament schedule is out, and the brackets are getting prepped. The 2011 Big Ten Conference Tournament will begin on March 10, and will work its way to an automatic berth in the 2011 NCAA Tournament. The Big Ten Conference has been one of the most competitive conferences this season, and with three teams that could potentially be a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, this postseason tournament could be an extremely interesting one.

All 11 teams in the Big Ten Conference make it into the postseason tournament, and the first day serves as a play-in to decide which eight teams will be competing in the second round of the tournament. Teams ranked from No. 6 to No. 11 in the final Big Ten 2011 standings will play in those first round games on March 10 to decide who gets to play on March 11. There will be three games taking place on March 10, beginning with the No. 8 vs. No. 9 game at 2:30 p.m. EST. That will be followed 25 minutes later by the No. 7 vs. No. 10 game, then at 7:30 p.m. EST will be the No. 6 vs. No. 11 game.

Four games will take place on March 11, opening with the No. 1 vs. No. 8/No. 9 game at noon EST. It is nice to see that the top team gets to play the first game of the day, and it will be the first of two sets of games. The second game will take place 25 minutes after the first game, pitting No. 4 vs. No. 5, then the second set of games will begin at 6:30 p.m. EST between No. 2 and the winner of the No. 7 vs. No. 10 game. The night will then end with the game of the No. 3 seed against the winner of the No. 6 vs. No. 11 game.

Television coverage is going to switch off and on between several networks, with the Big Ten Network, ESPN, ESPN2 and CBS Sports airing at least two games. The first two games on March 10 will be on ESPN2, with the nightcap game on the Big Ten Network. Then on March 11, the first two games are on ESPN and the two night games will be on the Big Ten Network. Starting with the semifinals on Saturday and working through the championship game on Sunday, coverage will be on CBS Sports. Having three big games on CBS through the weekend should help draw a lot of national attention to the conference once again.

It’s up in the air which team will be favored to emerge as the champion of the postseason Big Ten Tournament, especially with three teams playing so well. Ohio State is ranked No. 3, Purdue is ranked No. 8, and Wisconsin is ranked No. 12 in the most recent AP poll, and any one of these teams could emerge with the title this year.

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2011 American League Gold Glove Winners

Defense wins championships – at least that’s the old saying. Is it true? That’s debatable. But what isn’t debatable is that the players listed below played some of the best defense in the MLB last season, and that is why I have chosen them as my American League Gold Glove winners for 2011.

P – Mark Buehrle – Chicago White Sox

So he didn’t have the same type of crazy, absurd, unbeatable Web Gem that he had last season, but Mark Buehrle was still an excellent fielder on the mound. He led the American League in range factor, made only one error, and that play from 2010 was so good it should still count for something.

C – Matt Weiters – Baltimore Orioles

Playing in the American League East, Weiters was overshadowed all season by the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays; but that doesn’t change the impressive defensive season he had in 2011. Among qualified AL catchers, Weiters allowed the fewest stolen bases, giving up 21 fewer than the next best catcher, Miguel Olivo. Not surprisingly, Weiters also led the AL in CS% at .370. Weiters also ranked second in the AL in total zone runs as a catcher, with 10, behind only Kelly Shoppach (TB) who had 11. Toss in two great plays in the final game of the season (blocking Marco Scutaro and fielding David Ortiz’s 5-foot ground ball) to help the Orioles eliminate the Red Sox and Matt Weiters is the clear choice for the GG at catcher.

1B – Adrian Gonzalez – Boston Red Sox

This isn’t even close. Gonzalez led the AL in total zone runs at 1B with 15; the next closest 1B had 3. He recorded the most assists for 1B in the AL, an important statistic because it shows that he can do more than just catch throws; and Gonzalez’s UZR was a league-best 10.8. Simply put, Gonzalez’s glove was the standard by which all first basemen were measured this season, and he deserves this award.

2B – Ian Kinsler – Texas Rangers

There are a number of players who could claim this award; Robinson Cano led the league in Range Factor, Howard Kendrick led the league in total zone runs at 2B and UZR/150, and fielding percentage. So why Kinsler? It was close, but Kinsler is the most consistent player across the board. He is second in total zone runs (by one run), third in UZR/150, fourth in range factor, played the fourth most innings at 2B, and turned the most double plays at 2B this season. Cano is eliminated because, despite his excellent range, his UZR/150 was below 0 this season, and his total zone runs did not make the top-5 in the AL. Kendrick was very close, but he started only 105 games at 2B this season, and I have a preference for players who performed over an entire season, not two-thirds of one. In the end, Kinsler wins, but Kendrick would also be an acceptable pick.

3B – Adrian Beltre – Texas Rangers

Much has been made of his excellent offensive season this year, but what is lost in the Beltre discussion is that his defense is as good as it has ever been. Beltre was second in the league in total zone runs at 3B, tied for second in range factor, and first in UZR/150 and regular UZR. Additionally, the only player with better range than Beltre, Evan Longoria, is behind him in zone runs. So no player was ahead of Beltre in two defensive categories. Evan Longoria is an exceptional defensive third baseman, but at least for 2011, he will have to settle for second best in the American League.

SS – Alcides Escobar – Kansas City Royals

SS this season was much like second base, there were a number of players who excelled in various defensive categories, and no player was best in the league in more than two major defensive categories. Only Escobar was ranked in the top-five of all four of the following: total zone runs (5), fielding percentage (T3), range factor (2), UZR/150 (4). Various stats will point to various players, and J.J. Hardy and Jhonny Peralta have legitimate arguments for the Gold Glove award, but the most consistently high-ranking player was Alcides Escobar, and that is why he deserves this award. One note: neither Derek Jeter nor Asdrubal Cabrera should win this award, there is no argument to be made for either.

OF No. 1 – Brett Gardner – New York Yankees

The outfielders given here are in no particular order, but Brett Gardner is definitely the easiest pick of the bunch. Brett Gardner was the only AL player to earn more than 14 total zone runs in the outfield…he had 35. Gardner compiled a WAR of 3.2 on the defensive side of the ball alone; no other AL player at any position was higher than 1.7. There are a ton of reasons that could be used to justify Gardner for this award, but they would be superfluous; the fact of the matter is that Brett Gardner was arguably the best defensive player in the American League regardless of position. He earns one of the outfield GG awards easily.

OF No. 2 – Jacoby Ellsbury – Boston Red Sox

In the past offseason, the Red Sox made an effort to become a better defensive team with the free agent signing of Carl Crawford. They did become a better defensive outfield, but it was the health of Ellsbury that got them there. Ellsbury is still not polished with his reads, and sometimes must make a spectacular catch where other players would have positioned themselves better, but he still enjoyed an excellent defensive season. He did not make an error this season, was fourth among CF in range factor, and had the second best UZR/150 for all outfielders in the American League this season. He was no Brett Gardner, but he was very good and earned himself his first Gold Glove award.

OF No. 3 – Ben Revere – Minnesota Twins

This third Gold Glove was extremely difficult to give out, as there are a number of amazing defensive players who could claim right to it. It was made even tougher by the fact that my eventual pick played only 925 innings in CF this season. But there is no way I could deny Ben Revere, who exploded onto the defensive scene this year with arguably the best play of the year. His UZR/150 ranked third in the AL this season behind only Gardner and Ellsbury, his range factor/game was first in the AL and his range factor/9 innings was second. He did not rank as highly in total zone runs due to the lower number of innings, but between the excellent UZR, range factor, and flare for the amazing, Ben Revere should win this award as a rookie.

Obviously there will be some debate here. Pedroia, Kendrick and Cano all have legitimate cases for the 2B GG, Austin Jackson is a great defensive outfielder, as is Adam Jones and David DeJesus. There are a number of SS who excelled this year, and Evan Longoria came up with two of the most clutch defensive plays anyone will ever see in the last two games of the regular season this year. The debates will rage on, but I believe the nine players listed here would form the best defensive team the American League could put onto a baseball field in 2011.


Baseball AL Defensive Statistics

ESPN AL Defensive Statistics

FanGraphs AL Defensive Statistics

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2011 Easter Events in Dallas, Texas

Easter will be here before you know it and if you want to take your child to something fun in the Dallas area, now is the time to start seeking out what Easter events will be happening in your area. Most events occur before Easter so be sure to mark the events on your calendar so they won’t slip your mind. This article will detail four of the best Easter activities to take your kids to in Dallas , Texas and surrounding areas.

#1: University of Dallas Egg Hunt

The University of Dallas wants in on the Easter fun and is having an egg hunt on Saturday, April 23rd. It starts at 3:30 PM. They ask that you RSVP by April 16th so they know how many kids to expect. The egg hunt will take place on the lawn besides Jerome Hall (click here for a map of the University of Dallas ). For more information, call Rachel Gilliam at (972) 721-5133. The address of the University is 1845 E. Northgate Drive Irving , Texas 75062 .

#2: Spring Egg Hunt

You can never take your child to enough egg hunts, trust me, go and ask them. Nearby Irving is having their spring egg hunt on April 23rd from 9:30 AM to 11 AM . Children under six will have the opportunity to look for eggs. The egg hunt is free but if you want your child to get their face painted and to have their picture taken with the Easter bunny, you’ll need to pay $5 dollars. Registration is required. The event takes place at the Northwest Park Recreation Center . Their address is 2800 Cheyenne St. Irving , TX 75062 and you can call (972) 721-2609 for additional information.

#3: Traditional Ukrainian Easter Egg Painting

Let older kids explore the world of art…Easter style. The Museum of Biblical Arts will be having a special display of painted Easter eggs by artist Ms. Bezney who has painted the eggs Pysanka style. Her eggs will be on display in the Museum store but you can also sign up to make your own painted eggs. Workshop dates are April 13th and April 14th at 10 AM . You will need to register and it costs $125 (though viewing the already painted eggs just costs the normal entrance fees). Call Maria Sheets at (972) 672-8965 to register or to find out more information. The Museum of Biblical Arts is located at 7500 Park Lane 75225.

#4: Celebrate with the Easter Bunny

Your child will never forget meeting the Easter Bunny himself at Grapevine Mills . On April 2nd from 10 AM to 12 PM , children will have the chance to visit the Easter Bunny as well as doing fun activities. Radio Disney will be on site and there will also be giveaways. Grapevine Mills is located at 3000 Grapevine Mills Pky Grapevine , TX 76051 and their contact number is (972) 724-4900.

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2011 Conference Outlook: SEC

The most dominant conference of the decade is finally facing a season of unknown possibilities. In past years the SEC has had a strong favorite (or possibly several) to win the conference, putting them in the National Championship game. Last year was Auburn, 2008 and 2009 had favorites Alabama and Florida, 2007 had LSU, and 2006 had Florida. 2010 will be different. With virtually every team mentioned above going through a retooling stage, especially within the quarterback position, uncertainty will plague this upcoming season. It will be an uncertainty that will make the conference schedule both that much more exciting and that much more painful for the fans. Imagine football in the SEC where instead of waiting to see if the league leader will trip up, fans are waiting to see if a league leader will emerge. Exciting is an understatement.

Perhaps the strongest SEC teams of the decade, Florida and Alabama, are having to rehash almost the entire system. With Urban Meyer resigning at Florida, it appears as though the signature Spread Offense has followed him. New coach Will Muschamp and new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis are turning the Gators into a Pro-style offense. On the bright side for Gator fans, anything will be an improvement from last years pathetic offensive outing. Tide fans have an equal amount to worry about. The stars that have shined so brightly over Tuscaloosa in recent years are off to the NFL. Nick Saban has quickly find replacements for Julio Jones, Mark Ingram, and Greg McElroy and begin the development stage. AJ McCarron has already emerged as the probable new quarterback and I’m sure you have already heard the name Trent Richardson but there are still plenty of question marks on the offensive side. The defense will be the Tide’s strength. 9 of 11 starters will be returning under Nick Saban which can only mean solid improvement.

Picking a favorite to win the SEC this year is both difficult and futile since the league will likely have several different leaders throughout the season. However, the best suited team to get the job done has to be the LSU Tigers. They return 8 offensive and 7 defensive starters from a solid but very lucky 2010 season. The Tigers could have easily had 5 losses last year, but “Mad Hatter” and his team just found ways to escape with wins. Once again the maturation of the quarterback will seal the fate of this SEC team. The position has seemed to be a problem in Baton Rouge for the last couple years with Jordan Jefferson struggling to be consistent and Jarrett Lee struggling to be good. Don’t be surprised if Les Miles has sophomore Zach Mettenberger under center at the start of the season with Jefferson coming in as a second quarterback much like the Tigers did in 2007 with Matt Flynn and Ryan Perrilloux.

A potential “dark horse” for the SEC is equally difficult to choose. Basically every SEC team will have a strong opportunity to win the conference. Teams that stand out have to be South Carolina and Vanderbilt. Spurrier gets offensive playmakers Alshon Jefferey and Marcus Lattimore back along with quarterback Stephen Garcia. The Gamecocks might be the favorites of the East which contradicts the definition of a “dark horse” but I don’t foresee much media attention being focused towards the “Ol’ Ball Coach” and his team. With Florida going through such a radical change, Mark Richt being on the hot seat in Georgia, and Tennessee having to go through the NCAA violations, South Carolina might sneak up unexpectedly. Vanderbilt might be the true “dark horse” though. The Commodores return 19 of the 22 starters and don’t have to play LSU. If Vandy plans on going anywhere in the East they will have to play great football early as they have back-to-back games against South Carolina and Alabama in the first half of the season. It may be a long shot, which is why you won’t hear about Vandy unless they win those back-to-back games; but in a year of mediocrity in the SEC, this is one of the very few years that the Commodores have this kind of opportunity. If South Carolina can’t live up to expectations while Florida and Georgia can’t bounce back from last years performance, Vanderbilt will be your “dark horse” of the SEC.

SEC Overview
Back of the Pack: Kentucky and Ole Miss
Furthest to fall: Auburn
Highest to climb: Vanderbilt
Not Much to Say: Tennessee, Mississippi St., and Arkansas
Surprise: Florida
East Winner: South Carolina
East R/U: Florida
West Winner: LSU
West R/U: Alabama
Conference Winner: LSU

Key Games:
Sept. 3- BSU @ UGA^
Sept. 3- ORE @ LSU^
Sept. 10- SC @ UGA
Oct. 1- BAMA @ UF
Oct. 8- UF @ LSU
Oct. 29- UF @ Georgia*
Nov. 5- LSU @ BAMA
Nov. 12- UF @ SC

^ denotes non-conference games, * denotes neutral field

Tags:2011 Conference Outlook: SEC

2011 CMT Music Video Awards: Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Kid Rock -- Would Hank Have Done it This Way?

Watching the 2011 CMT Music Video Awards Wednesday evening, broadcast live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, had to have been a grueling experience for country music traditionalists. The show being hosted by quasi-rapping southern rocker wannabe Kid Rock and littered with presentations and nominations of artists from folk to pop to rap could not have set too well, either. In fact, watching the awards ceremony no doubt brought up the unforgettable lyrics penned by Waylon Jennings in “Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?”

Over the years, country music flirted with the crossover hit, occasionally scoring one now and again with hits from the likes of such artists as John Denver and Willie Nelson, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. But in the past couple decades or so, crossover hits have become commonplace. And with more and more acts going the way of Shania Twain, Taylor Swift, and Lady Antebellum, not to mention songs of more traditional artists like Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney finding traction on the Billboard Hot 100, it would appear that today’s country music has found a place in the music industry mainstream.

And nothing reflects the change from a nearly isolated niche genre to widespread acceptance as the current state of country music videos, the celebration of which is displayed at the annual CMT Music Video Awards. This year’s nominees included songs recorded by and with pop/folk singer Sheryl Crow, pop heartthrob Justin Bieber, more pop than country Taylor Swift, “American Idol” pop singer Kelly Clarkson, more elevator music than country Lady Antebellum, pop singer Aaron Lewis’ wannabe “Country Boy” song featuring icons George Jones and Charlie Daniels, and the versatile Kid Rock (who collaborated with the aforementioned Crow).

No, it is a little doubtful that Hank would have done it this way. In fact, it is quite doubtful that Hank Williams would even recognize most offerings of modern country music as actual country music. But the legendary performer was an innovator himself — and who knows? He may have loved it.

Still, there are traces of old country in the new that Hank would have most likely not only found recognizable but perhaps enjoyable. There is little doubt that Blake Shelton’s winning “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking” (Male Video of the Year) would be recognizably country to him, not to mention Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me” (Female Video of the Year). And then there is The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young,” a song supported by a banjo and mandolin melody, which won Breakthrough Video of the Year. The traditional sounds and trappings of country music are still there, they just seem a little more difficult to find in the more commercially accepted trappings acquired by the genre.

So if Taylor Swift winning Video of the Year (for “Mine”) at the 2011 CMT Music Video Awards or Justin Bieber winning Collaborative Video of the Year (with Rascal Flatts for “That Should Be Me”) make the more traditionalist-minded yearn for the days of Hank Williams and Merle Haggard and George Jones and Loretta Lynn, it should be remembered that Hank may not have done it this way, but he might have if he had had the chance. Music, like most things, is always in a state of transition, whether we like it or not. And as Waylon Jennings observed in his ode to the country music pioneer:

“Singing my songs and one of his now and then/
But I don’t think Hank done ’em this a’way/
No I don’t think Hank done ’em this a’way.”

He didn’t. But country music artists of today do not, by and large, perform in the same manner as their predecessors, no more than Waylon performed like Hank. No, Hank Williams may not have done it this way, but if he had lived in the days of 24-hour television, YouTube, and music videos, he just might have ended up doing ’em this a’way — although recording with Justin Bieber might have been a bit of a stretch.

More From This Contributor:
Lee DeWyze Drops New Album
Idol Alums Get Grammy Nods
Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Join the Yahoo! Contributor Network here to start publishing your own articles.

Tags:2011 CMT Music Video Awards: Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Kid Rock – Would Hank Have Done it This Way?

2011 Easter Egg Coloring Ideas; Creative Ways to Decorate Those Eggs

Coloring Easter eggs is one of favorite things to do with my kids around Easter time besides baking. When it comes to any type of coloring my creative juices are always flowing.

Last Easter we made princess eggs, Spiderman eggs, and a family collage egg, which can be found here titled Creative Ways of Decorating Easter Eggs Using Magazine Pictures, Rhinestones, Stencils, or Comics . So what did I come up with for this Easter 2011?

So many cool ideas were running through my mind, but only a few of them really caught my eye and spark an interest. From using leftover hair color to nail polish to using Sharpies to using red wine. Here’s how to make the most vibrant and creative Easter eggs ever.

Hair Colored Eggs

For some reason most women who color their hair at home always seem to have leftover color, or sometimes the wrong color which they never bring back. Don’t throw it away save it for your easter eggs. Great if you have black, brown, or a red shade. Place a glove on, put the hair color into a bowl and mix it up. Once the egg is boiled, dip it into the dye.

Let the hair color remain on the egg for 20 minutes. Remove, and allow to dry.

Nail Polish

Want an array of colors like a rainbow? Or maybe just a stained glass Easter egg, it can be done using nail polish. This technique can work two ways. You can just use the brush of the polish and paint it onto the egg, or drop some polish into a bowl of warm water and dip the egg. Leave egg in the bowl for 10 minutes to make sure the whole egg is soaking up the color of choice.

No matter which option you go with, you’r bound to get one bright, bold and fun looking egg.

Red Wine Eggs

Grab a bowl and a red wine you don’t drink. Dip the egg into the wine and let the egg soak for 20-25 minutes to ensure you get a very bright colored egg. For extra brightness drop a few drops of vinegar into the mix.


This cool marker is used for almost anything. From highlighting hair to detailing cars to making tattoos, so why not decorating Easter eggs? Use the black sharpie for names, and the multi-colors for detailing and decorations. I suggest wearing gloves, because sometimes these markers can stain the skin, and hard to get off.

Tattoo Easter Eggs

Last year I wrote about using sticker tattoos on an Easter egg, why not make the real thing? Decide what you want first. Then draw the idea using a pencil onto the egg. Then using acrylic paints and a brush or a Sharpie marker outline the tattoo and color it in. Once the egg is totally dry, use a rag and dip the end of the rag into some oil. Rub it onto the Easter egg gently. Now you have a fresh and shiny tattooed egg.

The last idea is so precious. My kids enjoy animals so I searched online for something that would work with the Easter eggs, and finally found animal masks on activityvillage . Click on the desired animal, then once it opens up in another page downsize it to the smallest possible. This way you can print, cut, and place onto your egg.

Other ideas I have are using Kool Aid, color salt eggs, colored sugar, smashed up candied eggs, and maybe take your old broken crayons around your home and make them into small shavings and place onto the egg. It’s all about using your creativity. Almost anything can go onto an egg.


Associated Content from Yahoo


Tags:2011 Easter Egg Coloring Ideas; Creative Ways to Decorate Those Eggs

2011 Dodge Charger Revealed

Relaunched in February 2005 as a sports full-size sedan, the Dodge Charger was created to replace the Dodge Intrepid and it has been quite a success for Chrysler. And now, five years later, the Auburn Hills company decided it was time to refresh the model and has announced the all new 2011 Charger, Dodge’s flagship vehicle. The highlights of this model include a styling redesign, a new RWD architecture and a major technology upgrade.

On the exterior, the new Charger boasts the same “ready to attack the road” face with Dodge’s new “split crosshair” signature grille, while dual “scallops” on the aluminum hood further increase the aggressive look. Dodge is very proud on the car’s profile, after they worked a lot on its aerodynamics, the results being a lower hood line, faster windshield, tighter wheel openings, lower sill and race-car-like flat underbody.

Also, Large body-side scallops deliver a striking A-line across the doors, while front to rear is the iconic horizontal “coke bottle” or “double-diamond” body-side styling that creates Charger’s signature tapering silhouette. Also, one of the most important styling upgrades is the all new tail-lamp design that integrates 164 LEDs to form the “racetrack” graphic.

While there weren’t a lot of details about the interior in the press release, Dodge mentions Charger customers will definitely get premium materials throughout, a new thick-rimmed three-spoke Dodge steering wheel and four available interior color combinations. However, what passengers will really love will be the Uconnect Touch system that integrates, among others, Garmin® navigation, dual-zone climate controls and the ability to check fuel prices with SIRIUS Travel Link.

Chrysler are also very proud about the interior being a lot more sound proof, after engineers worked on features such as a dual-pane acoustic windshield and front-door side glass, body-cavity silencing foam and under-flush roll-framed doors with triple seals and acoustic wheel-well liners.

As for the mechanical part, the 2011 Dodge Charger will be available with AWD and the new second-generation E-segment rear-wheel drive (RWD) architecture featuring suspension-tunings with redesigned geometry. The AWD models also feature active transfer case and front-axle disconnect system which improves fuel economy by up to 5 percent.

The engine offer includes a 3.6-liter Pentastar engine for the SE and Rallye models, while the top-of-the-line Charger R/T will get the legendary 5.7-liter HEMI V8 with four-cylinder mode FuelSaver Technology. Besides AWD, the R/T version will also get a re-thought stance and 19-inch wheels.

Dodge has also paid a lot of attention to safety and security, so the new Charger features more than 65 technologies aimed at looking after the driver and the passengers. Among these technologies, there’s standard Keyless Enter-N-Go and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with segment-exclusive Ready-alert Braking and Rainy Day Brake Support and, for the first time on a Dodge, adaptive-cruise control (ACC) with forward-collision warning (FCW), blind-spot monitoring (BSM) with rear cross path (RCP) detection and ParkView rear back-up camera with grid lines.

The all-new 2011 Dodge Charger will be built at the Brampton Assembly Plant in Brampton, Ontario (Canada) and the first units will arrive in showrooms in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Tags:2011 Dodge Charger Revealed

2011 Emmy Red Carpet's Worst Looks

Part of the fun of watching awards shows is playing arm-chair fashion expert, deciding who looks great and who should fire her stylist. This year’s Emmy red carpet’s worst looks featured stars whose award show style could use some work. However, these suggestions aren’t just for the red carpet – use these gentle suggestions to work on your own look!

The Hair’s Apparent

Your hairstyle is such an important part of your style that it can make or break your overall look. Even celebrities are not immune to hair disasters, as the 2011 Emmy red carpet’s worst looks proves.

Take Padma Lakshmi, Katie Holmes, Emily Blunt and Paz De La Huerta for example. All three of these lovely ladies made the most common red carpet hairstyle mistake – messy, too-casual styles. In Katie’s case, a dress that was not quite dressy enough was made even less red carpet appropriate with a messy updo. Emily Blunt and Paz De La Huerta, on the other hand, wore gorgeous, awards show-ready dresses, but paired them with hair that was unkempt and casual.

However, it is possible to have hair that is simply too styled. Both Julianna Margulies and Elisabeth Moss sported hairstyles that appeared to be laquered into submission, adding years to their ages, and taking serious style points off their overall red carpet style.

Lights, Camera, Make-up

Red carpet make-up is notoriously difficult to get just right. While make-up needs to define a star’s features well-enough to make them show up on camera and from a distance, it shouldn’t go overboard into applied-with-a-trowel territory.

This year’s emmy red carpet’s worst looks in the make-up department fall into the too-little category – barely-there make-up that fails to impress.

Padma Lakshmi, Elisabeth Moss, Taraji P. Henson and Julianne Hough are among those who needed a bit more make-up, or just brighter, bolder colors, to make their features pop on the red carpet.

Dressing the Part

Looking your best means dressing the right way for the occasion. While most mere mortals will never need to pick a gown for an awards show, one of the most important parts of gown selection is one that anyone can apply to every outfit – getting the color right.

When you dress in a color that makes the best of your coloring, you glow. It’s that simple. However, even actresses sometimes make bad color decisions, as evidenced by the 2011 Emmy red carpet’s worst looks.

Elisabeth Moss, Rachael Taylor, Padma Lakshmi, Julianne Hough and Julianna Margulies all made the mistake of choosing frocks in colors too similar to their skin color. In Elisabeth, Rachael, Julianne and Padma’s cases, the problem was compounded when the women went with make-up that was also lacking color. When your skin and dress are too similar in color, and you don’t use make-up to create contrast, the result is a washed out look that adds years to your age.

More From This Contributor:

Kate Middleton’s Beauty Tricks

Best Makeup Buys for Under $5

Beauty and the Budget

Tags:2011 Emmy Red Carpet’s Worst Looks

2011 Dodge Avenger Review

The 2011 Dodge Avenger is a very special kind of car that Dodge lovers will appreciate. This car has a great look and feel to it. Not only does the 2011 Avenger have a rugged look, it has an edgy shape to it. The angles help to minimize the overall size of this four door car.

The standard options of the Dodge Avenger are very appealing to the customer. Some of best aspects are the chrome tipped exhaust pipes, new interior design, a touch screen dash, and hard drive. There are many options that are available to be added on this car too including Sirius Satellite Radio and Sync. The Sirius Radio is used by many because of the endless options that go above and beyond the regular radio. Sync is a helpful feature for placing calls and receiving calls while driving.

This car has a spacious interior that allows for children to feel comfortable in the back, especially on those long family trips. The Avenger does lack additional electronic features found in most sport utility vehicles. This is a great car for the family because of the four doors and the spacious interior.

One of the biggest reasons to go with the 2011 Dodge Avenger is its smooth ride. The Avenger has an updated suspension system, which provides comfort and power. A smooth ride, as the Avenger adjusts to the road.

The Avenger also features a V-6 engine which provides much more power than most of the competitor’s cars in its class. With more power available in this car, you would think the fuel economy would be bad. That is not the case for the 2011 Dodge Avenger. It gets an estimated 29 miles per gallon on the highway. While that is not amazing, it is not horrible either.

Overall I would recommend the 2011 Dodge Avenger for the person that is looking for a more powerful car and is not worried as much about the fuel economy. This car is very stylish and comes with a variety of colors. In my opinion, red always looks great on Dodges and it looks great on the 2011 Dodge Avenger. Dodge has definitely worked hard on improving this car and hopefully consumers will enjoy it.

Tags:2011 Dodge Avenger Review

2011 Daytona 500 Starting Lineup

The 2011 NASCAR Race Schedule kicks off Sunday February 20, 2011 with the 53rd Daytona 500. 43 drivers will take the track with Dale Earnhardt Jr. leading the pack at the start. This race marks the 10th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s crash that took his life. This year’s “Great American Race” is sure to thrill.

The starting lineup for the 2011 Daytona 500 includes:

1. Dale Earnhardt Jr., #88, Hendrick Motorsports , Chevrolet
2. Jeff Gordon, #24, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet
3. Kurt Busch, #22, Penske Racing, Dodge
4. Jeff Burton, #31, Richard Childress Racing, Chevrolet
5. Regan Smith, #78, Furniture Row Racing, Chevrolet
6. Clint Bowyer, #33, Richard Childress Racing, Chevrolet
7. Kevin Harvick, #29, Richard Childress Racing, Chevrolet
8. Michael Waltrip, #15, Michael Waltrip Racing, Toyota
9. Matt Kenseth, #17, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford
10. Kyle Busch, #18, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota
11. Kasey Kahne, #4, Red Bull Racing, Toyota
12. Brian Keselowski, #92, K-Automotive, Dodge
13. Juan Pablo Montoya, #42, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet
14. Jamie McMurray, #1, Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, Chevrolet
15. AJ Allmendinger, #43, Richard Petty Motorsports, Ford
16. Brad Keselowski, No. 2, Penske Racing, Dodge
17. Mark Martin, #5, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet
18. Denny Hamlin, #11, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota
19. Paul Menard, #27, Richard Childress Racing, Chevrolet
20. Martin Truex Jr., #56, Michael Waltrip Racing ,Toyota
21. Ryan Newman, #39, Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet
22. Carl Edwards, #99, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford
23. Jimmie Johnson, #48, Hendrick Motorsports, Chevrolet
24. David Reutimann, #00, Michael Waltrip Racing, Toyota
25. Tony Stewart, #14, Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet
26. Greg Biffle, #16, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford
27. Brian Vickers, #83, Red Bull Racing, Toyota
28. Robert Richardson Jr., #37, Front Row Motorsports, Ford
29. Bill Elliott, #9, Phoenix Racing, Chevrolet
30. Robby Gordon, #7, Robby Gordon Motorsports, Dodge
31. Bobby Labonte, #47, JTG Daugherty Racing, Toyota
32. Trevor Bayne, #21, Wood Brothers Racing, Ford
33. J.J. Yeley, #46, Whitney Motorsports, Chevrolet
34. David Ragan, #6, Roush Fenway Racing, Ford
35. Marcos Ambrose, #9, Richard Petty Motorsports, Ford
36. Steve Wallace, #77, Rusty Wallace Racing, Toyota
37. Andy Lally, #71, TRG Motorsports, Chevrolet
38. Joey Logano, #20, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota
39. David Gilliland, #34, Front Row Motorsports, Ford
40. Travis Kvapil, #38, Front Row Motorsports, Ford
41. Joe Nemechek, #87, Nemco Motorsports, Toyota
42. Dave Blaney, #36, Tommy Baldwin Racing, Chevrolet
43. Terry Labonte, #32, FAS Lane Racing, Ford

Tags:2011 Daytona 500 Starting Lineup

2011 Beef O'Brady's Bowl - Preview, Prediction, and Pick Against the Spread

The Beef O’Brady’s Bowl features Florida International of the Sun Belt Conference against Marshall from Conference USA. Florida International earned a bowl bid by going 8-4 overall this year and 5-3 in Sun Belt conference play. Marshall had to win their last two games in dramatic fashion to become bowl eligible at 6-6. The Thundering Herd beat Memphis by one, 23-22, then ended the season with an overtime victory against East Carolina.

When Marshall is on Offense

Marshall’s offense was unimpressive this season. The Thundering Herd have the 98th best scoring offense in the nation at 22 points per game. It’s an offense without an identity. Freshman quarterback Rakeem Cato played his best game of the season in the finale against East Carolina, but he hasn’t proven himself on a week in, week out basis yet. Running backs Tron Martinez and Travon Van split carries, mostly because neither has impressed enough to take the lead.

Florida International’s defense is licking their chops to get after Marshall’s anemic offense. FIU’s defense was great this year allowing only 19.4 points per game. The Golden Panthers sacked opposing quarterbacks 33 times this year, and they will look to get after Marshall’s freshman signal caller.

When Florida International is on Offense

Senior wide receiver/kick returner T.Y. Hilton is the true definition of a play maker. Hilton needs 50 yards receiving to reach 1,000 for the second time in his career. He has a combined 6 kick and punt returns for touchdowns in his career, and the Golden Panthers will find ways to get him the football. Running back Kedrick Rhodes ran well this season to the tune of 1,121 yards and 8 touchdowns.

Marshall’s defense gave up a lot of points this season allowing opponents an average of 30.2 points per game. They gave up 44 to Ohio, 59 to Tulsa, and 63 to Houston. Marshall will definitely have their work cut out for them trying to slow T.Y. Hilton.

2011 Beef O’Brady’s Bowl Pick Against the Spread

Florida International won its first bowl game last season and is favored to win their second this year. The Golden Panthers are favored by 4 points over Marshall in the 2011 Beef O’Brady’s Bowl. Florida International has the best player on the field (Hilton) and they are playing close to home in St. Petersburg. Marshall played inconsistent, uninspiring football all season and they just don’t have the talent at the skill positions on offense. I feel very comfortable taking FIU and giving the points in this one.

2011 Beef O’Brady’s Bowl Prediction

Florida International – 27
Marshall – 17


Tags:2011 Beef O'Brady’s Bowl - Preview, Prediction, and Pick Against the Spread

2011 Emmy Predictions

Jane Lynch, who won an Emmy last year for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role on Glee, hosts this year’s Emmy Awards which take place this Sunday night on FOX. Here’s a look at what may happen in the top categories for this year’s Emmys.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

(Jane Lynch won last year)

Julie Bowen for Modern Family

Jane Krakowski for 30 Rock

Jane Lynch for Glee

Sofia Vergara for Modern Family

Betty White for Hot in Cleveland

Kristen Wiig for Saturday Night Live

Who I want to win: Jane Lynch.

Who will win: Jane Lynch. Although she may have a harder time repeating since she is hosting, Jane Lynch is one of the funniest women on television and should repeat as winner.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series

(Eric Stonestreet won last year)

Ty Burrell for Modern Family

Chris Colfer for Glee

Jon Cryer for Two and a Half Men

Jesse Tyler Ferguson for Modern Family

Ed O’Neill for Modern Family

Eric Stonestreet for Modern Family

Who I want to win: Ty Burrell. Burrell was the funniest out of the group on Modern Family this past season.

Who will win: Chris Colfer. The Modern Family men will all cancel each other out and it will come down to Colfer and Cryer.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

(Edie Falco won last year)

Edie Falco for Nurse Jackie

Tina Fey for 30 Rock

Laura Linney for The Big C

Melissa McCarthy for Mike & Molly

Martha Plimpton for Raising Hope

Amy Poehler for Parks and Recreation

Who I want to win: Amy Poehler.

Who will win: Amy Poehler. Parks and Recreation is one of the best comedies on television right now, led by its anchor Amy Poehler.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

(Jim Parsons won last year)

Alec Baldwin for 30 Rock

Louis C.K. for Louie

Steve Carell for The Office

Johnny Galecki for The Big Bang Theory

Matt LeBlanc for Episodes

Jim Parsons for The Big Bang Theory

Who I want to win: Steve Carell.

Who will win: Steve Carell. Carell probably should have won the award by now but has not. This is his last chance and they may give it to him for his swan-song.

Outstanding Comedy Series

(Modern Family won last year)

30 Rock

The Big Bang Theory


Modern Family

The Office

Parks and Recreation

Who I want to win: Parks and Recreation. The show was the best comedy this past season.

Who will win: Modern Family. The NBC comedies will cancel each other out and Modern Family will repeat as winners.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

(Archie Panjabi won last year)

Christine Baranski for The Good Wife

Michelle Forbes for The Killing

Christina Hendricks for Mad Men

Kelly Macdonald for Boardwalk Empire

Margo Martindale for Justified

Archie Panjabi for The Good Wife

Archie Panjabi won last year

Who I want to win: Margo Martindale.

Who will win: Margo Martindale. Martindale’s performance was key to the great success of Justified‘s second season. Because (spoiler alert!) her character died, she won’t have another chance to win for the show.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

(Aaron Paul won last year – first not to be re-nominated because Breaking Bad was not on during Emmy season)

Andre Braugher for Men of a Certain Age

Josh Charles for The Good Wife

Alan Cummings for The Good Wife

Peter Dinklage for Game of Thrones

Walton Goggins for Justified

John Slattery for Mad Men

Who I want to win: Walton Goggins. Goggins was brilliant again as the mysterious Boyd Crowder but he may have to wait another year.

Who will win: Peter Dinklage. Game of Thrones received great reviews and fan-fare. They need to reward Dinklage for his performance on a new, successful show.

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series

(Kyra Sedgwick won last year)

Kathy Bates for Harry’s Law

Connie Britton for Friday Night Lights

Mireille Enos for The Killing

Mariska Hargitay for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit

Julianna Margulies for The Good Wife

Elisabeth Moss for Mad Men

Who I want to win: Connie Britton. Connie Britton, along with Kyle Chandler, helped keep Friday Night Lights alive with their real-life like chemistry as the Taylors.

Who will win: Julianna Margulies. She should have won the award last year and they will make up for their mistake.

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series

(Bryan Cranston won last year)

Steve Buscemi for Boardwalk Empire

Kyle Chandler for Friday Night Lights

Michael C. Hall for Dexter

Jon Hamm for Mad Men

Hugh Laurie for House

Timothy Olyphant for Justified

Who I want to win: Kyle Chandler. See: Connie Britton. If one of them doesn’t win, the other shouldn’t.

Who will win: Jon Hamm. Hamm has surprisingly not won the award yet. With Bryan Cranston out of the running, he will take it this year.

Outstanding Drama Series

(Mad Men won last year and has won Drama Series every year since the show has started)

Boardwalk Empire


Friday Night Lights

Game of Thrones

The Good Wife

Mad Men

Who I want to win: Friday Night Lights. I would love to see the show get recognized for five brilliant years. Unfortunately, the last season was not as good as the others and they won’t be given an “overall” series win.

Who will win: Mad Men. This seems like a three show race between Boardwalk Empire, The Good Wife and Mad Men. With Mad Men not returning until 2012, they will not be up for an Emmy next year. Look for the show to once again reign supreme, as a result.

Thanks for reading. Here’s to a good show and all of your favorites winning.


Tags:2011 Emmy Predictions

2011 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Rankings and Tiers

For the last month or so I have been bringing to you my continuously updated 2011 Fantasy Baseball position rankings. I will keep doing so up until the season starts but I wanted to get a tad more in depth by placing them in tiers this week. Today we start at the catcher position. Here is how I see the rankings at this point and included are the tiers I see them sitting in.

Tier 1-The top of the heap. I likely wont end up with any of these guys as the price wont be agreeable for me. I cant justify a high pick on a position that is very injury prone and doesn’t yield 500 at-bats. I will be honest with you. I really was tempted to put Posey first but he needs to do it another season. Very good bats here.
1. Joe Mauer
2. Brian McCann
3. Buster Posey
4. Victor Martinez

Tier 2-My catcher will almost certainly come from either here or Tier 3. Looking hard at Soto who I had last year to great success along with Montero and the post hyped Wieters. No thanks to Napoli and Posada.
5. Carlos Santana
6. Geovany Soto

Tier 3-Not as sure of a thing here but Montero was solid when he played and the price will be very cheap. I really love Wieters since the hype has died down and he showed nice growth in second half of last season. Even though Napoli in Texas, he will split with Yorvit Torrealba.
7. Miguel Montero
8. Matt Wieters
9. Mike Napoli
10. Jorge Posada
11. Kurt Suzuki

Tier 4-The dumpster of catchers. Iannetta is intriguing since the team will give him a big shot this season but we have seen his act before and it wasn’t good. One more try. Try not to get stuck with one of these guys.
12. Ryan Doumit
13. Miguel Olivo
14. Chris Iannetta
15. JP Arrencibia

So once again catcher is hit or miss but I believe the right way to go is to get someone from Tier 2 or 3 and get a more big time stat filler in the round it would take to get someone from Tier 1. It will be the right move to do.

Tags:2011 Fantasy Baseball Catcher Rankings and Tiers

2011 Easter Egg Hunts in Tucson, Arizona

Below are Neighborhood Associations, Churches, etc., in Tucson Arizona having a 2011 Easter Egg Hunt.

On Saturday, April 16, 2011, Immanuel Presbyterian Church is having their Easter Egg Coloring & Hunt from 10:00 A.M-11:30 A.M. Along with coloring eggs and hunting for candy-filled eggs, children will be read a story and doing a craft. Children of all ages and their families are all welcome to participate. They ask each family to bring one dozen, hard boiled, white eggs. Any other donations necessary for this event are greatly appreciated also. The Church is located at: 9252 E. 22nd Street (1 block west of Harrison Road) and their telephone number is: 520-296-2253. You can view their website at:

On Palm Sunday, April 17, 2011, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church is having an Easter Egg Hunt, which starts at 9:50 A.M. They prefer the children to first meet in their Friendship Hall (with their Easter baskets) between 9:35 A.M.-9:45 A.M. and then they will be led onto the courtyard (northeast area of the premises) by an adult to start their big Easter egg hunt. It is for children ages preschool through third grade. After the Easter egg hunt, families can sit on the grass and enjoy their treasures. Last year they had a few dressed-up Easter characters there to delight the children, including an Easter Cow. The Church is located at: 7650 N. Paseo del Norte 85704 and their telephone number is: 520-297-7201. You can view their website at:

On Saturday, April 23,2011, the Reid Park Zoo will be having an Easter egg hunt from 8:00 A.M.-9:00 A.M. There will also be live animals present, crafts to do and the Easter Bunny joining in on the fun. All ages are welcome to participate and children under 14 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. This event will take place rain, or shine. Prices are $5.00 for member adults; $7.00 for non-member adults; and $8.00 for children ages 2-12. Children under 2 are free. Pre-registration is required. Registration can be done online under “Classes Programs and Camps” at: The Reid Park Zoo is located at: 1100 S. Randolph Way and can be accessed from E. Broadway Blvd., or 22nd Street, west of Alvernon Way. Their telephone number is: 520-791-4022.

On Saturday, April 23, 2011, the Tucson Continental Ranch Neighborhood will be having an Easter egg hunt at the Windmill Park from 10:00 A.M.-1:00 P.M. This event is for Continental Ranch residents ages 0-10 and participants should bring a non-perishable food item to their office from now until April 15th to get an entry ticket for their child. The Easter Bunny will also be at this event. Continental Ranch is a community at the foothills of the Tucson Mountains. The Continental Ranch Community Association serves 2 Tucson Foothill’s communities and they are located at: 9150 N. Coachline Blvd. Their telephone number is: 297-7600. Windmill Park is at this same location.

Check your Neighborhood Association because as I researched this I saw that many had one last year, so they may possibly be having an Easter Egg Hunt this year too.

If you want to take a car trip to Amado Arizona, on Saturday, April 23, 2011, Agua Linda Farm is having an Easter and picnic from 10:30 A.M.-2:00 P.M. Admission fee includes the picnic lunch. There will also be live music for the kids, pony rides, face painting, farm animals to visit with and feed, scenic hayrides, you-pick vegetables and more. Picnic tables are available, or you can bring your own blanket to sit on. This event will take place rain, or shine. RSVP is recommended, which can be done on their website and walk-ins are also welcome. Admission is $18.00 per person. Agua Linda Farm is located at: 2643 East Frontage Road – exit 42 off of I-19, in Amado Arizona and their telephone number is: 520-891- 5532. Their website is:

On Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011, in Tumacacori, Arizona, Avalon Organic Gardens, Farm, and Ranch is having their annual Family Easter Celebration which includes an Easter egg hunt. The event is from 11:00 A.M.-3:00 P.M. There will also be a hayride, live music starting at 1:30 P.M., refreshments and much more. At 11:00 A.M., the hayride will take participants to the Easter egg hunt area. A garden tour starts at 12:00 P.M. Suggested donations are: $6.00-adults; $4.00-teens; $3.00-ages 11 and under. Avalon Farms is located south of Tubac off I-19, at 2074 Pendleton Drive and their telephone number is: 520-603-9932. Their website is:

When it gets closer to Easter time, check to see if any of these places, associations and churches are having an Easter egg hunt this year, as they had one last year:

The Forty-Niner Country Club located at 12000 E. Tanque Verde Road. Their telephone number is: 520-749-4001. This Country Club is also well-known for its beautiful golf course.

The Dietz Neighborhood Association had an Easter egg hunt last year at Dietz Elementary School Playground, which is located at 7575 E. Palma (north of Golf Links Road between Prudence & Pantano Roads). Their telephone number is: 520-296-5021.

The Southern Arizona Telecom Pioneers. Their telephone number is: 520-241-6849.

AJ’s Fine Foods located at: 2805 E. Skyline Drive. Their telephone number is: 520-232-6340.

Greater Faith Church had their’s last year at Himmel Park, which is located at 1000 N. Tucson Blvd. Their website:

Mountain View Baptist Church located at 3500 W. Overton Road (east of Thornydale Road). Their telephone number is: 520-744-9141. You can view their website at:

Contact your own church’s office to inquire about them having an Easter Egg Hunt. You can also call, or stop in any church to ask if they are having an Easter Egg Hunt this year.

Tags:2011 Easter Egg Hunts in Tucson, Arizona

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