Twins have strong start, but Tampa Bay better

Nathan Stacken

Nathan Stacken

Here it is, the last column of the year, of my career. It’s been a lot of fun and I thank you for reading what I have to say. But I have a little more left in me, so let’s get right to it:

Danny Batten getting drafted into the NFL is the latest sign of success for SDSU sports.

The former Jackrabbit defensive end was drafted by the Buffalo Bills with 192nd overall pick in the 6th round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. Batten is the first Jackrabbit football player since tight end Steve Heiden in 1999 to be selected in the NFL Draft. That is a very high achievement and something that SDSU football and SDSU in general should be very proud of. Offensive linemen Casey Knips and Casey Bender were signed as undrafted rookie free agents; Knips signed with the Arizona Cardinals and Bender signed with the Cleveland Browns.

It is just the latest achievement for SDSU in the realm of athletics since moving to Division I. Former Jackrabbit women’s basketball player Megan Vogel was drafted 19th overall by the WNBA’s Washington Mystics back in the 2007 WNBA Draft, and we know the success that the women’s basketball team has had the last few years, making it to two WNIT’s and two trips to the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. They won their first ever tournament game beating TCU, and they are the first team ever to make it to the NCAA tournament in their first two years of eligibility. It is clear that the move to Division I is paying off and has been really successful. Here’s hoping that Batten has a long and successful career in the NFL.

The Minnesota Twins have won their first six series to start the season, and they may not even be the best team in their league.

It is the first time in their history that the Twins have won their first six series to start the season. This is the most powerful lineup that the Twins have had in years. How much do you think opposing pitchers fear the Twins lineup with Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Michael Cuddyer, Jason Kubel, and Jim Thome? Even Delmon Young is starting the season off playing well. Denard Span has great plate patience and is playing great defense like the entire Twins team is. Jon Rauch has pitched very well as the team’s closer, though a save against the New York Yankees would ease the minds of fans about his ability to get a save against a good team. Francisco Liriano has looked sharp so far this season. The Twins definitely look like they will be A.L. Central Champions and a threat to make it to the World Series as one of the best teams in the American League.

However, the best team in the American League is the Tampa Bay Rays. Sorry, Twins fans; you can’t deny the success thiProxy-Connection: keep-aliveCache-Control: max-age=0

team has had so far. They look outstanding on the road, having completed sweeps of both the Boston Red Sox and the Baltimore Orioles (which should happen because the Orioles are awful). Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford are tearing it up, and Matt Garza is pitching like an all-star. Add in pitcher David Price and their bullpen and the Rays team looks amazing. There was a sense of urgency in spring training to win now because of the likelihood that the team won’t be able to re-sign Crawford to a long-term deal. The Rays look like they will be playing deep into October.

More people should start liking hockey and less of the NBA, especially come playoff time.

I know the NHL is not a popular sport unless you are from Canada or Minnesota, but you should be paying attention to the NHL playoffs. The action is non-stop, the hitting is tenacious, and the games have been great. There have been upsets like the #7 seed Philadelphia Flyers taking out the #2 New Jersey Devils in the first round. Sudden death, overtime hockey is some of the greatest action in sports, like the Boston Bruins beating the Buffalo Sabres in game 4 of their series in double overtime. It is tough to get into hockey, especially when the games are on Versus and you have to go to Cubby’s to watch the game, and NBC only shows two games a week. Hopefully the Olympics have helped carry over some of that energy and passion for hockey like we saw with so many people watching the sport during the Olympics.

While the NBA has stars like LeBron James and compelling teams like the Oklahoma City Thunder, the first round of the playoffs last f-o-r-e-v-e-r. The first round of the playoffs is going to take more than two weeks just to complete one round. I understand the NBA wants to get their product televised as much as possible on ESPN, ABC, and TNT, but when teams have three days in between games, that is ridiculous. There is no flow to the playoffs then, and some people, like myself, lose interest. Pick up the pace of the playoff rounds, and more people will watch.

Again, thanks for reading. Who knows; you may see me on TV at some point, read my column in another paper or hear me on the radio. Who knows, but the “Stack Attack” will live on.