Happy Opening Day, folks. While I am adamantly against Opening Day being on a Sunday night, I still have this "kid on Christmas Eve" feeling swirling in my gut right now (although it might be the Mexican food I had last night). Baseball season starts today. Oh fuck yeah!
For whatever reason---which is mostly my self-centered world view---I also feel it's incumbent upon me to make some predictions. However, let's make this clear: I'm not a stats guy. While many true baseball fans are disciples of Bill James and study numbers and scouting reports, I like to take a more humanistic approach to the game. In other words, I go with my swirling gut, embrace my prejudice, and generally talk out my ass (if you haven't noticed). So here we go.
Disclaimer: I'm terrible at spelling last names, so forgive the abundance of butchering in this post.
AL East: My baseball universe revolves around the AL East, with the Red Sox playing the role of God, in the ass-kicking Old Testament sense. However, I'm also a lifetime fan and grew up with each season being another chapter of disappointment. Despite two World Series titles, I can't shake my pessimism and would never be audacious enough to predict the Sox winning the division. I also would never pick the Yankees to win anything, other than The Douchiest Team in the MLB Award. Therefore, and you're hearing it here, I'm predicting Tampa to take the AL East this year. While The Rays are often fall off the radar, they have rock-solid starting pitching (Shields and Gaza), possibly the best bat in baseball (Longoria), and a kick-ass manager (Madden). They're always a headache for The Red Sox, especially in Tampa, and I can see them sneaking up on The Sox and Yankees and repeating a 2008 performance. Well, not really. But I won't pick the Sox or the Yankees, so Tampa it is.
AL Central: The Tigers trade in Granderson for Johnny "The Asswipe" Damon. While their pitching has a ton of potential with Verlander and Nate Robertson, I won't pick them for the simple reason that they signed Judas (it's Easter, dammit). I'm also a fan of Ozzie Guillen and think his motor-mouth and straight serum is great for baseball. The White Sox take the Central.
AL West: This is going to be a dog fight. Anaheim let go of their ace (thank you), and for a big market team, that's Bush League. Texas has some fierce bats, but I'm going with Seattle. My reason (aside from Felix Hernandez): Brian, a Mariner's fan, is one of the only people who comments on my blog, so I'm throwing him a bone. There you go, buddy. The Mariners rule The West.
Wild Card: Dah Sox.
Now, I'm going to be honest, other than interleague games, I pay little mind to the National League until the playoffs. In fact, for a guy who purports to write "a baseball blog," I'm terribly ignorant about the NL. Here's what I know about National League in bulleted points:
- Albert Pujols is the modern-day Babe Ruth. The best player in the game.
- The Mets spend a butt-load of cash and, somehow, still manage to suck.
- Philly is pretty good.
- Manny plays for the Dodgers under Joe Torre.
- They don't have the designated hitter, and that might be fine in little league, so Tommy can learn how to swing the bat, but I like watching homeruns, and I love the fact that pitchers in the AL can throw at hitters with no repercussions. I like dirty games, cheating, and steroids for professional athletes.
That's about it. For baseball purists and fans of the game, you've probably stopped reading already so this is a moot point. For those who give a shit, here are my NL picks:NL East: Philly is pretty good.
NL Central: Other than the Red Sox, the only team in baseball that I like is the Cubs, probably for obvious reasons. Let's go Cubbies.
NL West: Manny being Manny. Torre being Torre. The Dodgers take it.
Wild Card: I left my heart in San Francisco.
There it is, folks. Those are my completely biased and ignorant picks. And a reminder for those of you who are interested: I'm going to be writing some pieces for Slurve Magazine this season. Check it out. And Jon Konrath, the editor of Air in the Paragraph Line, did an interview with me. Rock on.
Play ball. (I said "ball.")