The Morning Percolator: Opening Day 2010

Here at the Daily Jolt, we prefer our coffee on the stove top and not from the electric drip machine. We're just old-school that way. Here's what's happening this Monday morning...

…I still consider last night’s game between the Yankees and Red Sox part of the exhibition season, despite the fact that the stats count and the result will be recorded in the standings. Because for any fan of America’s pastime — yes, I’m aware that football is the nation’s most popular sport — real Opening Day is today. Hopefully, all of you have plenty of vivid childhood memories of your favorite team taking the field for the start of every new season. I have quite a few memories, especially because this will unofficially be my 16th consecutive season of watching the White Sox from the comfort of my own home (I pretty much was never in a classroom or an office on the first Monday of April). So in the spirit of Opening Day, here are my predictions for the 2010 campaign.

AL division winners: White Sox (Central), Yankees (East), Rangers (West)
AL wild-card: Rays

NL division winners: Cardinals (Central), Marlins (East), Dodgers (West)
NL wild-card: Braves

ALCS: White Sox over Yankees
NLCS: Dodgers over Braves

World Series: White Sox over Dodgers in six games — a rematch of the ’59 Series

My prediction if I wasn’t a White Sox fan: White Sox over Dodgers in six

White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen finally has his ideal team — one built on pitching, defense and “small ball” — while Manny, Matt Kemp and James Loney have just enough offense to advance out of the National League. Ultimately, Andruw Jones comes back to haunt his former team with a tie-breaking two-run homer in the seventh inning of Game Six that lifts the Sox to the championship.

…We all have our opinions on the trade that sent Donovan McNabb from Philly to Washington. While I don’t necessarily agree with turning the team over to Kevin Kolb, Andy Reid and the Eagles needed to do something sooner rather than later — because it was obvious that they wanted to move on. From a Redskins perspective, it’s actually the first offseason move that I think makes sense for the team. Adding Larry Johnson and Slow Willie Parker to the backfield was perplexing, but at least now they made the inevitable quarterback change. Perhaps now they’ll take offensive tackle Russell Okung at No. 4 and work from there. For Jason Campbell, this could be the best thing to happen to him because new head coach Mike Shanahan obviously wanted to go in a different direction. I still think Campbell has the ability to be successful as a starter, so it’ll be interesting to see where he lands as we get closer to the draft.

…Saturday’s Final Four matchup between Duke and West Virginia featured, in my opinion, the greatest moment in the history of college basketball. Could I be overstating it? Perhaps, but Mountaineers head coach Bob Huggins’ near-cradling of Da’Sean Butler after the star swingman tore his ACL showed you everything you need to know about how Huggins feels about his players. Say what you want about him — and I have as a DePaul alum who was so used to his Cincinnati teams kicking our butts consistently — but it was the most genuine moment I saw on a court since former Laker Vlade Divac used to blow kisses to the crowd after three-pointers at the Great Western Forum. Seriously, though, Huggy Bear showed great character on Saturday evening.

…So does Butler get it done tonight? Sadly, Duke pulls it out 64-56 — and we have to watch Coach K celebrate with WoJo, Chris Collins and Brian Zoubek.

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