2009-2010 Wild Schedule – My Wish List

The Wild have released their 2009-2010 regular season schedule, so it’s time for the annual tradition of making my wish list of the games I want to attend. I usually end up with about 82 games on the initial list, which then has to be pared down based on feasibility. Here’s the top five for the upcoming season. In an ideal world I would get to see all of these in person.

Minnesota @ St. Louis [FRI – 10/23]

St. Louis is the closest NHL city, and there is some family of Mrs. Mak’s who live there, so a weekend game should work out. I’ll get to add St. Louis to my list of NHL arenas visited (it currently contains only a paltry 2 arenas – Xcel Energy Center [MN] and United Center [CHI]).

Minnesota @ Nashville [SAT – 12/5]

Mrs. Mak’s brothers both live in Nashville and we’ve been threatening to visit for a few years. I think a hockey game is just the excuse we need.

Minnesota v. New Jersey [SAT – 1/2]

Jacques Lemaire returns to Minnesota for the first time. And on a date where I might also be in Minnesota. What are the odds?

Minnesota v. Columbus [SAT – 1/23]

For the last three years, the Wild traveled to Chicago within two weeks of my birthday (which is the same as Wayne Gretzky’s – is it any wonder I’m a hockey player?). To keep that “hockey on my birthday” tradition going, a trip back to MN might be in order.

Minnesota @ Buffalo [FRI – 3/12]

One of my friends from grad school is a native Buffalonian, and he told me he’ll be back in Buffalo this weekend. Sabres games are a whole lot of fun, and with a guide, it should be a lot of fun.

There they are – the five that have the best chance of me being in attendance. To add to all that, here’s 10 more games that I would really like to see in person, but surely won’t be able to get to.

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June Strength of Schedule

Check out the earlier post on strength of schedule for explanations of these numbers.

First up is the AL Central:

AL Central May Record May SOS Expected June SOS Actual June SOS Difference June Record Expected July SOS
Chicago White Sox 12-14 .473 .439 .472 -33 10-18 .524
Cleveland Indians 19-11 .526 .468 .474 -6 15-13 .488
Detroit Tigers 16-12 .547 .496 .514 -18 16-10 .536
Kansas City Royals 11-17 .543 .504 .511 -7 15-12 .524
Minnesota Twins 13-14 .502 .530 .504 26 15-12 .526

The Tigers continued to win in June, actually improving on their .571 winning percentage of May with a .615 winning percentage in June. They did that despite having the most difficult opponents of the teams in the division. The Tigers won series against the Indians, Mets, Brewers, and Braves. All of those teams were over .500 when the Tigers met them. The Indians played just a touch over .500 against a much easier schedule. The Indians missed opportunities by losing two of three to both Cincinnati and Washington. The surprise of the month was the Kansas City Royals who finished the month of June three games above .500, the highlight being a three game sweep of the Angels.

The Twins, for the most part, kept pace with their divisional opponents, they lost a couple games in the standings to the Tigers, but stayed right with the Indians. The difference in expected SOS and actual SOS comes from the Braves, Mets, and Brewers coming back to earth a bit after hot starts, and the Nationals playing the Twins tougher than one might expect. The Twins can’t afford to just keep pace with the Tigers and Indians anymore. They have remained on the perimeter of striking distance for most of the season, but now is the time to make their move.

Coming up, the Tigers have a tough month, with the Angels, A’s, Mariners, Indians, and Twins all on their schedule. They have already won 2 of 3 from Cleveland, so it could be more of the same from Detroit. Cleveland has a relatively easy schedule, with series against KC, Chicago, and Texas. However, they also have the aforementioned series with Detroit, along with games against Boston and Minnesota. If Cleveland can beat the teams it is supposed to beat, it should be a pretty straightforward July for the Tribe.

As I have already mentioned, the Twins have a big month. They have division rivals Cleveland and Detroit, in addition to series against Oakland, Los Angeles (of Anaheim), and the Yankees. By the end of the month we should know where the Twins stand in relation to the best teams of the AL Central. They’ve been keeping the deficit manageable, but now is the time for some big wins against tough opponents.

For completeness, here’s the remainder of the American League:

AL East May Record May SOS Expected June SOS Actual June SOS Difference June Record Expected July SOS
Baltimore Orioles 15-13 .515 .528 .504 24 8-17 .477
Boston Red Sox 20-8 .519 .504 .522 -18 13-14 .468
New York Yankees 13-15 .514 .532 .440 92 14-11 .480
Tampa Bay Devil Rays 11-15 .469 .505 .478 27 11-17 .535
Toronto Blue Jays 12-16 .515 .506 .444 62 14-13 .530
AL West May Record May SOS Expected June SOS Actual June SOS Difference June Record Expected July SOS
Los Angeles Angels 18-11 .511 .456 .470 -14 17-9 .492
Oakland Athletics 14-13 .461 .528 .469 59 15-13 .536
Seattle Mariners 16-14 .532 .479 .495 -16 18-9 .505
Texas Rangers 9-20 .479 .502 .555 -53 14-12 .564