2018 Year in Review + Bonus One Second Everyday Compilation

2018 was another action-packed year. Highlights from the year included attending my first March Madness game, watching the Celtics clinch two playoff series in the Garden, the Red Sox World series win, and a trip to Nashville.

 

One Second Everyday

 

In Memoriam

 

 

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2018 NFL Conference Championship Preview and Predictions

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Only four teams remain in the quest for a trip to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta. The Patriots will look to return to the Super Bowl against the Chiefs while Drew Brees seeks the second Super Bowl appearance of his career. Here are my previews and predictions for both games.

 

Sunday, January 20 3:05 PM: #2 Los Angeles Rams @ #1 New Orleans Saints (-3.5)

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These two teams faced off against each other back in November, with the Saints winning 45-35 in New Orleans to hand the Rams their first loss of the year. The Rams once again head into New Orleans looking to avenge that loss, with a trip to Super Bowl LIII on the line. Drew Brees is having another outstanding season and a large reason why is wide receiver Michael Thomas who is playing on another level right now. Him and Alvin Kamara lead a formidable Saints offense against the likes of likely defensive player of the year Aaron Donald and the Rams defensive line. On the other end, Rams QB Jared Goff and RB Todd Gurley are playing in their first NFC Championship game. These two have been the stars for the Rams on offense, but the Saints defense has been outstanding and shut down playoff hero Nick Foles and the Eagles after the first quarter of the divisional round. Sean McVay and Sean Payton are both fantastic coaches which should make this a great game to watch. I think experience, both on the team’s side and the coaching side, along with home field advantage in the Super Dome will ultimately prevail. Saints win 27-23.

 

Sunday, January 20 6:40 PM: #2 New England Patriots vs #1 Kansas City Chiefs (-3)

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The Patriots will face off against the Chiefs in a rematch of their prime time matchup earlier this season, which New England won 43-40. This time, it will be in Arrowhead Stadium with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. Mahomes continued the Chiefs stellar season with a beatdown of the Colts in the divisional round. The much maligned defense was dominant and able to shut down Andrew Luck for most of the game. They will have to come up big again to stop Tom Brady and the Patriots, who put up 41 points in a beatdown of the Chargers in their divisional round matchup. The running backs were the key to success for New England. Sony Michel rushed for over 100 yards and 3 touchdowns, while James White set a career high with 15 catches. Julian Edelman had 151 yards receiving and Tom Brady set a record for most consecutive postseason passes without an interception. The Patriots defense will also have to step up again against the high powered Chiefs offense. Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce are big weapons for Mahomes, who will attack any soft spots in the Patriots defense. I think this is going to be a close game, but home field advantage tips it toward the Chiefs. Kansas City wins 31-27.

 

Let me know your thoughts and predictions in the comments down below.

-Jeff

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2018 NFL Divisional Round Preview and Predictions

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The NFL is down to the final eight teams who are each competing for a spot in the conference championship. Rivers tries to beat Brady for the first time, the defending champs look to keep it going, Andrew Luck looks to stay hot against the Chiefs, and the Cowboys head to LA to face the Rams. Here are my preview and predictions for each matchup.

 

Saturday, January 12th 4:35 PM: #6 Indianapolis Colts @ #1 Kansas City Chiefs (-6)

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The top two quarterbacks in touchdown passes will face off against each other in Arrowhead in a game that figures to be very high scoring. Andrew Luck’s comeback season continues as the much improved offensive line for the Colts has allowed him plenty of time to get the ball to T.Y. Hilton and Eric Ebron. Marlon Mack has been effective on the ground as well. The Chiefs defense has been one of the worst all season, and could be very vulnerable against the Colts offensive if they’re unable to generate a pass rush. Meanwhile, rookie Darius Leonard and the Colts defense will have to contain Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce. Mahomes, an MVP candidate, will try to finally lead the Chiefs to the AFC Championship for the first time under Andy Reid. I think Colts coach Frank Reich has been phenomenal for the team this season, and has experience in big playoff games. Andy Reid has historically faltered in the postseason. The Colts continue their momentum and the Chiefs falter once again. Indianapolis 38, Kansas City 30.

 

Saturday, January 12th 8:35 PM: #4 Dallas Cowboys @ #2 Los Angeles Rams (-7)

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It may feel like a home game for Dallas as they travel out to LA to take on the Rams, but Sean McVay and the Rams will be ready. The Cowboys defense has been a big key to their success this season, and they will really have to step up to slow down Jared Goff, Todd Gurley, and the explosive Rams offense. Jared Goff will make his second career postseason start, with both him and McVay looking for their first career playoff wins. Likely defensive player of the year Aaron Donald leads a fierce Rams pass rush that will try to slow down Dak and Zeke by wreaking havoc at the line all night. I think the Rams are one of the top two teams left in the playoffs right now, and they are just too talented to lose to the Cowboys in this one. Los Angeles 27, Dallas 17.

 

Sunday, January 13th 1:05 PM: #5 Los Angeles Chargers @ #2 New England Patriots (-4.5)

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Much has been made of the fact that Philip Rivers is 0-7 against Tom Brady in his career and 0-2 in the playoffs, while the Patriots have dominated the Chargers in recent memory. However, it has been a while since these two teams met in the playoffs, and Rivers appears ready for revenge. The Chargers have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen, and Melvin Gordon provide a balanced offensive attack while Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa lead a pass rush that dominated Baltimore last weekend. The Patriots are 24-4 all time at home in the playoffs, and haven’t lost at home since 2012. However, this has clearly been a weaker New England team this year. While the secondary has been good, the rushing defense has been very poor and the offense has struggled at times. They don’t have Josh Gordon, Edelman hasn’t looked sharp, and Gronk is on his last legs. I think the Patriots fail to reach the AFC Championship game for the first time since 2010. Los Angeles 20, New England 17.

 

Sunday, January 13th 4:40 PM: #6 Philadelphia Eagles @ #1 New Orleans Saints (-9)

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The defending champions are the biggest underdog of the weekend as they look to continue their quest for a repeat against Drew Brees and the top-seeded Saints. The Eagles barely squeaked by the Bears after some late heroics from Golden Tate and a missed field goal by the Bears. The offense struggled at times and turned the ball over, but the defense held on just enough for them to pull it out in the end. However, Foles will have to play much better if they want to have a chance to win this time. The Saints high powered offense is led by Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara. Brees always plays great at home in the dome, which could be a big advantage for the Saints. Overall, I think New Orleans just has too much talent not too win this game. New Orleans 37, Philadelphia 20.

 

Let me know your predictions in the comments down below.

-Jeff

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2018 NFL Wild Card Weekend Preview and Predictions

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Seven new teams are in the playoffs this year, along with five returning from the season before, in what could be one of the more wide open playoff fields in recent memory. It will all start with Wild Card Weekend on January 5-6, so here are my previews and predictions for each of the four first round matchups.

 

Saturday, January 5th 4:35 PM: #6 Indianapolis Colts @ #3 Houston Texans (-1.5)

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After starting the season 1-5, Andrew Luck and the Colts won nine of ten to enter the playoffs as arguably the hottest team right now. They will take AFC South champion Houston in what will be a rubber match for the season series, with each team winning one game during the regular season. The Texans have a devastating pass rush with Jadaveon Clowney and JJ Watt, and quarterback Deshaun Watson is capable of making big plays at any moment. Deandre Hopkins is one of the best receivers in all of the NFL, so the Colts primary focus should be on pressuring Watson and containing Hopkins to limit big plays. Andrew Luck has had a huge bounce back season under first year coach Frank Reich, finishing fifth in the NFL in passing yards and second in touchdown passes. T.Y. Hilton is one of Luck’s favorite targets, but tight end Eric Ebron may be an X factor in this game. Ebron caught 13 touchdown passes during the regular season, tied for second in the NFL. I think this will be a very competitive game between two division rivals who are familiar with each other. Ultimately, I think Houston’s defensive line controls the line of scrimmage and makes Luck uncomfortable most of the game.¬†Texans win 20-17.

 

Saturday, January 5th 8:15 PM: #5 Seattle Seahawks @ #4 Dallas Cowboys (-2)

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Many people did not expect either of teams to make the playoffs at the beginning of the year. The Seahawks were supposed to be rebuilding after the Legion of Boom was dismantled, and nobody the Cowboys would win NFC East over the defending champion Eagles. Russell Wilson had an outstanding season with 35 TD vs 7 INT, and the running game has been really key with Chris Carson leading the way. Doug Baldwin is still a reliable receiver for Wilson, and with Pete Carroll still at the helm there is no ruling out a potential Seahawks run. Dallas’ defense has been the story this year for them, and were really put on the map after shutting down Drew Brees and New Orleans to end thee Saints winning streak. Rookie linebacker Kyle Vander Esch has been outstanding and taken the defense to the next level. On the offensive side, Dallas was sparked by a midseason trade for Amari Cooper which paid instant dividends. The Cowboys still have Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot as well, who led the team to a 13-3 record just two years ago and gained some playoff experience. While the Seahawks have more playoff experience, I think the Cowboys are the more talented team and will be able to attack Seattle’s defense for some big plays with Cooper and Elliot. Dallas wins 27-16.

 

Sunday, January 6th 1:05 PM: #5 Los Angeles Chargers @ #4 Baltimore Ravens (-2.5)

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The Ravens took down the Chargers in LA 22-10 just three weeks ago, and now will have home field for the rematch in Baltimore. Rookie QB Lamar Jackson has been sensational for the Ravens after Joe Flacco was benched earlier in the season after an injury. Jackson went 6-1 as a starter to lead the Ravens to the AFC North title, and has wreaked havoc on defenses with his running ability. He ran for 695 yards and 5 TD in the seven games he started this year. Rookie running back Gus Edwards broke out this season as well after starter Alex Collins went down with an injury mid-season. These two rookies have made the Ravens one of the best rushing offenses in recent memory, but the key for them will be to make plays in the passing game to keep the Chargers defense on their toes. For Los Angeles, Philip Rivers had another great season once again, and will finally look to carry the Chargers to his first Super Bowl appearance. Keenan Allen is a deep threat for Rivers, and Melvin Gordon helps to keep the offense balanced on the ground. The Chargers strength on defense is linebackers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram, who combined for 12.5 sacks during the regular season. Ultimately, I think the Chargers are the more talented and the veteran team, and could have easily been the #1 seed. The Ravens best players are their rookies and the team won the division based on a Pittsburgh meltdown. Los Angeles wins 23-10.

 

Sunday, January 6th 4:40 PM: #6 Philadelphia Eagles @ #3 Chicago Bears (-6)

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A trade for Kahlil Mack and a breakout year by Mitch Trubisky propelled the Chicago Bears back into the playoffs for the first time since 2010. The Eagles will once again enter the playoffs as an underdog under Nick Foles as they look for a repeat. The Bears enter the playoffs with a dominant defense which ranked number 7th in pass yards allowed, 1st in rush yards allowed, 3rd in total yards allowed, and first in points allowed. The key for the Eagles will be to get off to a good start and not allow Kahlil Mack and the pass rush to force an early turnover. Despite a disappointing season, the Eagles once again have hope after playing much better when Foles took over as the starter. Nick Foles won all three playoff games last year as an underdog, so he clearly has experience in big moments. The Bears are the more talented team, but this game has all the makings of an upset behind Nick Foles and coach Doug Pederson pulling out some more playoff magic. Eagles win 16-13.

 

Let me know your thoughts and predictions in the comments down below.

-Jeff

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Movie Review: Aquaman (2018)

Aquaman is the story of how one man (Jason Momoa) was destined to be the bridge between land and sea. His mother is the queen of Atlantis, and his father was lighthouse keeper, and their son Arthur inherited traits from both sides. When the city of Atlantis threatens to wage war on the surface, Aquaman and Princess Mera (Amber Heard) venture on a journey to find the King’s trident so that Arthur can take his place as the true King of Atlantis and once again bring peace to both sides.

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What stood out to me the most about this movie was how visually stunning it was. The amount of detail and creativity that went into designing the city of Atlantis and all of the underwater kingdoms and sea creatures was truly amazing. Every scene and every location was a consistent blast of lights and colors and shining objects. Atlantis and the underwater world truly was a very impressive result of many creative and skilled graphics and visual editing people. This was one thing that stuck out in comparison to most super hero movies, Marvel or DC, that I’ve seen before. It also seemed to be a combination of several different movies and themes which was certainly unique and entertaining at times.

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Although I did enjoy the battles in this movie, I thought that there were too many and lasted too long. I would have rather seen this movie shortened by a half an hour, or more time spent on Aquaman’s background and his upbringing. Aside from a few brief scenes at the beginning, the movie skips through his whole childhood and straight into adulthood. The overall plot was pretty basic as well, and it was clear much more time was spent on the visual effects than the writing of this movie. The plot was fairly predictable, and it felt like they tried to copy Marvel a little bit by throwing in some humor and comedic relief.

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Overall, this movie was mostly what I expected. It is visually stunning and entertaining at times, but an average story at best and longer than it needed to me.

IMDB: 7.6/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 64% (critics), 82% (audience)
My rating: 5.2/10

Let me know your thoughts in the comments down below.

Thanks,
Jeff

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Remembering Cotton, the Best Pet Rabbit of All Time

The first thing I remember about Cotton when he joined our family in January 2008 at just a few months old, was how incredibly soft he was. I’ve never felt anything as soft as him in life still to this very day, and that was one thing that never changed about Cotton either. He had a lot of energy when he was young, always tearing around the playroom for minutes nonstop. However, once he was tired, he was really tired. I would always get a kick at him passing out sometimes, or what we also called flopping.

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The next things I’ll always remember about Cotton was how much he liked his treats. Once he sensed the opportunity for a treat, he would immediately dash to the source. After awhile, all it took was the rattling of the treat bag for him to come flying in out of nowhere in attempt to get a treat.

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But most importantly, I will remember the joy that Cotton brought to everyone who met him. Whether it was friends or family, everyone who met Cotton loved him. I would always look forward to coming home from college and having one of the first things I do is go find Cotton. When I lived at home for a few years after college, I would routinely go watch TV and snuggle with Cotton under the blankets.

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This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for the 11 years that Cotton was able to be in our family, and I hope he is happy up in bunny heaven.

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Rest in peace Cotton, you will truly be missed.

-Jeff

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The Boston Red Sox are 2018 World Series Champions

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The Boston Red Sox defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games on Sunday night to win their fourth championship in the last fifteen years and ninth title in franchise history while cementing themselves as one of the greatest teams of all time. The Red Sox were historically dominant this year, winning 108 games in the regular season en route to their third consecutive AL East title. They then cruised through the playoffs by disposing of the 100 win Yankees in four games, 103 win defending champion Astros in five games, and defending NL Champion Dodgers in five games. They went 11-3 in the playoffs and 7-1 on the road. Now that the season is over, it’s time to reflect back on the incredible journey that led the Boston Red Sox to the 2018 World Series Championship.

 

October 27, 2017: Alex Cora signs three year deal to become manager of the Red Sox

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Despite winning the 2013 World Series title and back to back AL East division titles in 2016-2017, there was always a feeling that the Red Sox were winning despite John Farrell and not because of him. The decision to fire Farrell and hire Cora was the first important step in the success of the 2018 Red Sox. Cora was previously a bench coach for the Houston Astros, and instantly made an impact when he joined the Red Sox. All of the players spoke very highly of him and he had a great relationship with the team. Cora brought the best out of everyone this season and his impact was undeniable.

 

February 26, 2018: Boston signs free agent J.D. Martinez to a 5 year $110 million deal

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After David Ortiz retired in 2016, the Red Sox were dead last in the AL in home runs in 2017. There was a clear gap in the lineup, and Boston knew it needed to address it if they were seriously going to contend. Although it took longer than everyone expected, the Red Sox finally agreed to a deal with J.D. Martinez a month before the season started. Martinez was coming off a season in which he hit .303 with 45 HR and 104 RBI between the Tigers and Diamondbacks. However, given the many big name free agents that have come to Boston and failed miserably, there was no guarantee that J.D. could succeed in the ultra competitive AL East in a big market. Martinez more than proved everyone wrong by making a run at the triple crown by batting .330 with 43 HR and 130 RBI. He came up clutch in the postseason as well by hitting a HR every single round.

 

April 11, 2018: The Red Sox and Yankees reignite the rivalry

The 2018 season was the first in a long time in which both the Red Sox and Yankees were legitimate World Series contenders, so it was only a matter of time that the two teams would clash over the course of the season. On April 11th, Joe Kelly hit Tyler Austin and the benches cleared, reigniting a rivalry between the two teams that would eventually lead to a clash in the postseason.

 

April 20, 2018: The Red Sox win to start the season with a historic 17-2 record

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The Red Sox historic start was foreshadowing of what was to come. After blowing the lead against Tampa Bay in the season opener, Boston was 17 of its next 18 games and was firing on all cylinders in late April. After being the only team to not hit a grand slam in 2017, the Red Sox hit six grand slams in April.

 

June 28, 2018: The Red Sox trade for veteran 1B/OF Steve Pearce from the Blue Jays

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In what seemed like a relatively minor deal at the time, the Red Sox traded for veteran Steve Pearce to add some depth to their bench. The 35 year old had played for six different teams before joining the Red Sox, including every team in the AL East. Pearce went on to become an unlikely postseason hero by hitting three home runs in the World Series and earning World Series MVP.

 

July 25, 2018: Boston trades for Nathan Eovaldi from the Tampa Bay Rays

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Another mid-season trade that didn’t seem overly significant at the time turned out to pay huge dividends. The Red Sox acquired Nathan Eovaldi from Tampa Bay in exchange for Jalen Beeks. Eovaldi had great potential as a pitcher, but there were questions about his health after he underwent Tommy John surgery and missed all of the 2017 season. Eovaldi turned out to be a reliable starter down the stretch while Eduardo Rodriguez was on the DL and Drew Pomeranz had been demoted to the bullpen. He came up even bigger in the playoffs. With the Red Sox tied 1-1 and having to go into Yankee Stadium for Game 3 of the ALDS, Eovaldi turned in a masterpiece with 7 innings of 1 run ball to help the Red Sox retake control of the series. He would also go on to do the same thing in the ALCS, pitching another gem to help the Red Sox grab a 2-1 series lead against Houston.

 

August 1, 2018: Brian Cashman’s “Damage Quote”

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Before beginning a four game series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, Cashman was asked about the Red Sox to which he replied with his now famous quote. At the time, the Yankees were 5-4 against Boston and outscored them 52-50, hardly a significant advantage in the series. The Red Sox would go on to use that mantra as motivation throughout their postseason run, and even trademarked the phrase “Do Damage.”

 

August 5, 2018: Red Sox complete four game sweep of Yankees

The Red Sox entered this showdown with a 5.5 game lead over the Yankees in the AL East, meaning that the Yankees had to have a split at the very least to stay in the race. After taking the first three games of the series, the Red Sox came back from three runs down in the 9th to win it in the 10th and establish a commanding 9.5 game lead in the division, all but ending the race. It was the Red Sox first four game sweep of an opponent who was at least 30 games over .500 in nearly 80 years.

 

September 11, 2018: Red Sox clinch postseason berth
September 20, 2018: Red Sox clinch third straight AL East title at Yankee Stadium
September 24, 2018: Red Sox clinch best record in MLB, win franchise record 106th game

 

October 9, 2018: Red Sox defeat Yankees in 4 games to win ALDS

In what was probably their closest series of the postseason, the Red Sox defeated the Yankees in the teams’ first postseason clash since the legendary 2004 comeback. The two teams split the pair in Boston before the Red Sox handed the Yankees their largest postseason loss ever by winning 16-1 behind the first ever postseason cycle by Brock Holt. The Yankees became just the second team ever to have a position player pitch in the postseason in Game 3. Craig Kimbrel struggled in the series but was able to barely hold on in a thrilling one run victory in Game 4 to send the Red Sox to the ALCS.

 

October 18, 2018: Red Sox defeat Astros in 5 games to win ALCS

The Red Sox entered the ALCS against the defending champions as underdogs despite having the better record. After defeating Chris Sale in Game 1, it looked like Houston had all the momentum. A Game 2 win against the struggling David Price would send the Astros back home with a 2-0 series lead. However, Price was able to pitch just well enough and the Red Sox got to Gerrit Cole to earn the split in Boston after Jackie Bradley Jrs three run double gave Boston a 5-4 lead. Bradley again came up huge in Game 3 with a grand slam off Roberto Osuna to seal the 2-1 lead. With Chris Sale battling illness, David Price took the mound against Justin Verlander in Game 5 on short rest and delivered a performance for the ages to send the Red Sox to the World Series.

 

October 28, 2018: Red Sox defeat Dodgers in 5 games to win World Series

After facing tough tests against two 100 win teams, the Red Sox entered the World Series as a considerable favorite against the Dodgers. Boston took a 2-0 series lead before an epic Game 3 in which the Dodgers won on a walkoff home run in the 18th inning, the longest game in World Series history. The Dodgers looked to tie the series at 2-2 when they had a 4-0 lead in Game 4, but future MVP Steve Pearce tied the game in the 8th with a home run and then hit a 3 run double in the 9th to clinch the game and give the Red Sox a commanding 3-1 lead. Behind 7 strong innings from David Price and home runs by Betts, Martinez, and Pearce, the Red Sox won Game 5 and clinched their 9th title in franchise history.

The Red Sox were the best team from start to finish this year, and will go down as one of the greatest teams in MLB history.

-Jeff

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