Sunday, March 30, 2008

2008 MLB Storylines & Predictions

The transition from Spring to Summer is my favorite time of year, and it's no coincidence that I also welcome the start to the Major League season right about now. I love to participate in different fantasy leagues and predict how the season will play out, but what better way to do the latter than through my newest personal medium. 

Below I have included my biggest storylines for the 2008 season: 

1) Adding MVP candidate Miguel Cabrera  to an already potent lineup makes the Tigers my odds on favorite to win it all. They possess the best lineup in the game to go along with a top 5 staff. 

2) Watch out for the Devil Rays. If not this year, they will surely be a force to reckon with in the years to come. Their young talent featuring the likes of James Shields, Scott Kazmir and Carl Crawford is undeniable. Staying in the AL East, I think the definicies in the Yankee rotation will lead to an early exit before the playoffs. 

3) The Mariners will benefit from the injuries to the Angels' Lackey and Escobar, and they will ride the best 1-2 punch in baseball, Bedard and Felix, to the AL West crown.

4) The NL West is the best division in baseball with 4 teams capable of winning the title. As much as I discredit a manager's impact in baseball, I believe the mere prescence of Joe Torre coupled with a bounce-back season for Andruw Jones and breakout candidates James Loney & Andre Ethiera will vault the Dodgers to the top.

5) The Braves have quietly built up a young and powerful lineup to go together with a veteran and proven rotation. They will reclaim the NL East crown in a heated battle with the Mets.

6) Lastly, I expect the Cubs to finally make it back to the Biggest Stage with no Bartman interference. Yet, they will fall just short of the World Series crown in 6 games to the Tigers.

As for the actual finishes, I have posted my predictions (records included) for each team:

American League
Red Sox (96-66)
Yanks (92-70)
D-Rays (82-80)
B-Jays (80-82)
Orioles (68-94)

Tigers (101-61)
*Indians (94-68)
White Sox (81-81)
Twins (80-82)
Royals (74-88)

Mariners (91-71)
Angels (88-74)
Rangers (71-91)
Athletics (66-96)

Wild Card: Indians

ALCS: Tigers over Red Sox

National League
Braves (94-68)
*Mets (93-69)
Phillies (89-73)
Nationals (70-92)
Marlins (65-97)

Cubs (96-66)
Brewers (87-75)
Reds (83-79)
Astros (77-85)
Pirates (71-91)
Cardinals (70-92)

Dodgers (94-68)
Rockies (91-71)
Diamondbacks (91-71)
Padres (87-75)
Giants (68-94)

Wild Card: Mets

NLCS: Cubs over Braves

Worlds Series: Tigers over Cubs (in 6)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Anderson & Arrington on Rose: The Impact of Modern Day Pirates

I'm not much of a Charlie Rose buff, but when he invites two individuals who I admire tremendously onto his show, I have to pay attention. Earlier this month, Chris Anderson and Michael Arrington joined him for a broadcast on 'the future of technology and the internet.' For those who aren't familiar with those two, Anderson is the author of a phenomenal business book, The Long Tail (which happens to be heavily focused on the music industry), while Arrington is the head-hancho at TechCrunch, a blog about Web 2.0 startups and one of my first destinations every morning.

Rose started off with Anderson, and reiterated how TIME Magazine deemed him 1 of the 100 people shaping the world. Anderson explained how technology is changing the world of ideas. As he was developing his projects, he gave up IP concerns and benefited by receiving tremendous amounts of feedback in return. Anderson addressed what he believed as two additional economies that are often overlooked by the monetary economy: the attention and reputation economies. He believes the attention economy is crucial because 'time equals money' and it dictates how we spend our limited time. The reputation economy is defined by word of mouth and manifested through mediums such as ebay's rankings and what we link to.

I agreed with almost every point Anderson made in The Long Tail related to the state of the music industry, and it was no different when he made mention of it towards the end of his segment. As he explains, musicians "don't make money selling product...[they] make money selling performance!" He argues:
Considering the cost of distributing a digital track is essentially zero, why not use the product as marketing for performance...spread the undifferentiated [album] to stimulate demand for the really scarce thing of seeing the band [in person]

When it was Mike Arrington's turn, he discussed his obsession with his current job of evaluating the latest internet startups. Here's a quote that summarizes his take:
I love to cover [the Googles of the future]. They're either 20 years old or they just left high paying consulting job...whatever it is, they have an itch they have to scratch...they start a company...I love it! I think they're modern day pirates. They want to destroy existing companies and rip them apart...and they have this crazy view on the utility of risk...they're gamblers
As a lawyer in his previous profession, Arrington had become infatuated with entrepreneurs and their seemingly crazy ideas. As he tells Charlie Rose, he cannot wait for myspace or facebook or (fill in the blank) to have their "google moment," when they turn themselves into a monster source of wealth. Since he started TechCrunch in 2005, his website has quickly become one of the most trusted and reliable sources for daily information on the 'modern-day-pirates' of the web world.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Enough Talking, Let's Start Writing

So I have been meaning to start a blog for quite some time now, but it wasn't until my return from New York last week that I felt the need to execute on that inclination. Digital Media Wire hosted their bi-annual Digital Music Forum (this one on the East Coast) with over 70 speakers and 500 attendees. Talk about information overload. I have never felt more mentally exhausted in my life. While running around New York City for three straight days, I heard from and spoke with the founders of mega-digital-music-brands such as, iLike, last.FM, and AmieStreet. Although the trip put a significant dent into my pocket, it was everything I could have asked for and more.

Over the last year, I have become heavily intrigued by the power of the internet and Web 2.0's interactivity. When I coupled my passion for music and my infatuation with digitized content, I began to research the digital music space. What I found was very encouraging. Although many believe the music industry is in ‘chaos’, the truth is music is thriving like never before. The accessibility channels are as great as ever and music consumption is at all-time highs.

Once the likes of MySpace and Facebook discovered we could all be ‘friends’, it was only a matter of time before other we used our 'friends' as trusted resources. As UK writer Jemima Kiss recently wrote, if Web 2.0 was about interaction, Web 3.0 could well be personalization and recommendation. Heck, if that's the case, we’re already in the alpha stages of Web 3.0 as the whole world is getting acquainted with 2.0. Evidenced by the successes of Pandora and last.FM, combining music and recommendations is one of the most useful resources of Web 2.0.

An industry in the midst of chaos is prime for new opportunities. Moving forward, the digital music future looks very bright, and I am excited to be a part of it. In the words of former EMI executive, Ted Cohen's opening Conference remarks, "it's not too's only the beginning!"