Sunday, March 30, 2008

More Fearless and Incorrect Predictions

Well at least I have one team in the Final Four so far (thanks, UCLA). I should have taken North Carolina, but tried to be different, thus choosing Louisville. Such is life. If Texas and Kansas join the Bruins and Tar Heels, then I'll have three out of four. Not so bad.

That brings me to baseball, 2008. I've read some of the pros, like Peter Abraham, who I don't know and have never met, so calling him "PeteAbe" as some do doesn't seem right to me. Peter reminded me in his column today why I don't believe in heckling opposing players:
A fan wearing a Yankees shirt heckled Trot Nixon - a former member of the Red Sox who is now with the Diamondbacks - earlier this month during a game in Tucson, Ariz. Nixon heard the trash talk, then belted a two-run home run. He glared at the man as he crossed the plate. "If you want to get me right, bring in some Yankees fans," Nixon said. "You can hear everything in spring training."
I once saw people mocking Juan Gonzalez before Game One of the 1996 ALDS. I warned those around me that it might awaken a sleeping giant. All Juan Gone did that night was pop a three-run homer off David Cone as the Rangers beat the Yankees, 6-2. Full disclosure - the Bombers won the series in four games, but Gonzalez played like a man possessed.

Anyway, we'll start in the NL - in the East, to be exact. Despite what Abraham thinks, I believe there is nobody as good as the Mets in the league. Johan Santana is amazing, Pedro Martinez is revitalized, and John Maine looks scary good. Whispers are that Willie Randolph is in trouble, but I don't think it matters. I'm telling you now that they'll roll in the East, and they'll be representing the NL in the World Series. They do have some concerns - the bullpen is shaky, and Carlos Delgado looks done right now, but David Wright is big time, and can you really believe that Jose Reyes will be that bad again? No, me neither. Plus there's quiet Carlos Beltran, and as my colleague Sean Kilkelly said on WGCH with me on Friday, the Mets have a trade or some kind of significant move up their sleeve. I agree with him.

Oh I still like the Phillies, but their pitching scares me. Still I think they can grab the Wild Card.

In the Central, I'll ride the wave and say that Louie and the Cubs will win it. Sadly, in this 100th anniversary of their last World Series win, they won't pick up the hardware.

Colorado was a nice story in 2007, but who really remembers them at this point? I'd love to put Joe (Mr. Torre) and the Dodgers into the playoffs out of the Western Division, but they continue to run their organization like it's a small-market team. Laughable, really. I think Arizona is in better shape, with Brandon Webb and Dan Haren at the top of the rotation. If Randy Johnson returns and has anything, as a number three starter no less, then the D'Backs will be solid, and will jump to the NLCS.

I'll still take the Mets in the NL.

To the American League, let's get right to it. The Red Sox have enough to win the East Division. The Yankees, in my very humble and dark opinion, do not. The Central will be taken by the Tigers, so long as they get the pitching that they should have - especially from Dontrelle Willis. I'm not hearing good things from Seattle, so I'll take the Angels - the freaking pain-in-the-neck-play-like-the-Yankees-of-the-late-90's Angels - in the West.

That leaves the Wild Card. Oh, to have it be the Yankees. The grand lady (Yankee Stadium) has to have one more raucous October crowd.

Sports gods are funny in that they don't often behave that way. Sometimes yes; sometimes no.

These are the Yankees. The sports gods are not big fans (believe it or not).

(This will please Mr. Tim Parry) The Indians will take the Wild Card. They're better, and they have a true ace in CC Sabathia, who will show the world why he will be a Yankee in 2009. There's your first starter in the new Stadium.

I'll take the Tigers to win the AL, and the whole shooting match (over the Mets - don't thank me now, Mets fans). The primary reason for this is their pitching - Justin Verlander, Jeremy Bonderman, D-Train (Willis), Nate Robertson, and even Kenny Rogers. Their offense is solid, led by Pudge Rodriguez and Magglio Ordonez, and they have arguably the best in the managerial business in Jim Leyland. Put it all together and it spells a party in Motown.

As usual, I hope I'm wrong and that the Yankees are nailing down those final outs to win that now-elusive 27th the Cathedral, before it's used as a hockey rink.

By the way, there's a law in New York that building can't be imploded, thus we can not share the joy of watching Shea Stadium crumble ala the Kingdome. Sad, that.

Incidentally, Ken Rosenthal picked the Braves to win it all. While I appreciate his high praise in thinking that Sean and I will lead our SoftToss team to the top of the Carmel Sports Association, I must remind Mr. Rosenthal that the CSA SoftToss division doesn't keep score. So nobody wins.

Oh, he didn't mean our Braves?

Well never mind then.

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