The Calm Before The Storm

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks

San Francisco Giants v Arizona Diamondbacks

"Hope is a good thing. Maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."

The quote applies to all 30 Major League Baseball teams, who will open their 2018 seasons this week with a clean slate and hope, which should always be eternal.

Except for about half of those teams with absolutely no chance whatsoever at reaching the World Series.

They can just go ahead and toss hope out the window, along with optimism, enthusiasm, a sense of anticipation along with any sort of positive vibes about postseason glory.

That said, here's our predictions for the National and American League playoffs.

NL West -- Dodgers (did you really expect me to pick anyone else?)
NL Central -- Cubs
NL East -- Nationals
Wildcard -- Brewers, Cardinals

AL West -- Astros
AL Central -- Indians
AL East -- Red Sox
Wildcard -- Twins, Yankees

World Series -- Dodgers vs. Red Sox

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns

Cincinnati Bengals v Cleveland Browns

Johnny Manziel tosses comeback into a Twitter fire

How ironic that Johnny Manziel would be defending and essentially recruiting Colin Kaepernick.

Manziel, ostracized from the NFL after a tumultuous 2-year stint with the Cleveland Browns which was accompanied by less-than spectacular play, along with recurrences of personal decisions that cost him his job, is hoping to make a comeback.

Manziel already has a signed contract with the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but he's also actively looking for a gig in the NFL. To that end, he showed his skills in a practice last week in San Diego and addressed not only his critics, but also his supposedly past demons.

Earlier this week, he took to Twitter (because that's where I go to exchange meaningful dialogue) and expressed his support for another former signal caller, Colin Kaepernick.

In a series of tweets, Manziel pushed aside any comparisons between himself and the former quarterback of the 49ers who hasn't played since he was cut from the team following the 2016 season.

You may remember (believe me, I know you do) that Kaepernick caused headlines for his decision to not stand for the national anthem, which led many into protests (both for and against) regarding his decision.

Manziel chose to use Twitter to remind people of Kaepernick's impact, particularly off the field.

"This will probably cause an uproar, but I’m tired of the @Kaepernick7 vs myself comparisons and anger. Kap is doing amazing things right now changing lives and donating millions of dollars. His impact off the field from a societal standpoint is legendary and straight admirable.

"Standing up for people who often don’t get heard and for a race that continually deals with problem after problem in this country for CENTURIES. This world we live in is absolutely crazy and I believe what he’s doing has an amazing impact.

"The facts of the matter are the reason he’s not being signed are non football based. The guy took a team to the Super Bowl and continuously wreaked havoc on the NFC West and the league. Maybe he had a bad year two years ago but he’s not a bad player and that’s a fact.

"In my opinion the guy still has a lot in the tank but it’s not my place to say what he wants to do with his career. All I can speak for is myself and trying to turn my life around from the depths it was in. God bless and have a great Saturday...

"I rock with you @Kaepernick7 you’ve always been good to me and I appreciate that. All the best in your journey my friend wherever that takes you."

Johnny Manziel

Will these words of praise ultimately cost Manziel a chance at returning to the NFL?

Note I'm not even going to bother asking about Kaepernick's chances of returning to the playing fields of the NFL. That ship has long since sailed.

I genuinely want Manziel's "second chance" tale to be seen to fruition, even if it ultimately ends the same way this whole nonsense began. I want to see what happens to an NFL team, its locker room and its coaching staff as well as front office if and when it all goes south on them.

Manziel was right about at least one thing in his series of tweets. The comparisons between himself and Kaepernick are ridiculous. Manziel was given a chance, several to be honest, and ultimately chose an addiction and a need for compulsively bad behavior ahead of a career.

Not an original tale at all, but one I don't have a great deal of sympathy towards.

Kaepernick, also an addict but of a different kind, took a gamble that we as people can look each other in the eye and stir the pot in a rational, decent and civilized manner.

He lost.

Manziel has a chance to redeem himself. Again, I hope he does. Even if the tweets will ultimately lead the frenzied masses to band together against him, or anyone else for that matter, who dares to challenge the societal norms that are being ground into a fine, powdery salt. 

Top seeds everywhere you look in Women's Final Four

College basketball, and unlike the madness that surrounded the men’s bracket, all four regional top seeds have advanced to the women’s final four coming up this weekend. UConn easily dispatched last year’s champion South Carolina 94-65 while Notre Dame knocked off Oregon 84-74. Those two teams will meet in one semifinal match on Sunday, with the winner of that game slated to face Louisville or Mississippi State for the women’s title.  

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