Sunday, April 01, 2007

"My alternative baseball preview"

Three hours and 24 minutes...

That's how long until the baseball season officially begins as defending World Series champion St. Louis takes on the Mets. And I have no idea what to expect this year.

Predicting the baseball season is like trying to figure out Michigan weather patterns. For three days it's sunny and in the 60s and you think you've got it figured out. It's spring time. Then, six hours later, you come out of a building and there's snow on the ground.

That's the baseball season. In May we might be lauding the Cardinals. By August they could be out of the playoff race.

Who really knows?

So, no, I'm not going to try to predict the champion, or even the division winners, or even the wild cards. I'm not going to try to analyze who will finish where in each division. I don't feel like looking at my picks come October and shaking my head in disgust.

Instead I'll give you the certainties. All these things will happen. I'll bet you a ballpark frank and an $8 beer on it.

The Kansas City Royals will finish in last place regardless of how many Minnesota pitchers get injured.

Daisuke will win 15 games.

A-Rod will get booed.

Kenny Rogers won't win 10 games.

The D-Rays will be in first place... in April (and probably just for a day).

A manager will be fired by the end of June.

Jim Leyland will smoke a lot of cigarettes.

And he'll remain the most loved manager in the game.

Ryan Howard will hit 50 homers again.

Big Papi will not.

Speaking of the Red Sox, Manny Ramirez will sit out a few games for an "undisclosed injury."

And there will be the usual talk of trading Manny.

And he'll remain in a Red Sox uniform.

The Blue Jays will battle the Sox and Yankees into September for the East Division title.

And fall short.

And with a new contract in his back pocket, Vernon Wells will have a bit of a down year, only hitting 27 homers and only driving in 95 runs.

Speaking of new contracts, Garry Matthews Jr. has one in Los Angeles. And with the steroid investigation ongoing, he'll struggle in his new home.

His team, however, will still play well enough to make a push for the division in September.

And Jered Weaver will pick up where he left off a year ago, winning 15 games this year.

Other pitchers who will win 15: Jeremy Bonderman (Detroit), Brandon Webb (Arizona), Carlos Zambrano (Chicago Cubs), Andy Pettite (New York Yankees), Johan Santana (Minnesota), Roy Halladay (Toronto), Chris Carpenter (St. Louis), Scott Kazmir (Tampa Bay), Jake Westbrook (Cleveland), Jason Schmidt (LA Dodgers)...

And a few others.

Pitcher most people think will win 15, but won't: Barry Zito (Oakland), Freddy Garcia (Philadelphia), Jason Verlander (Detroit)...

And a few others.

Moving to the batter’s box, Barry Bonds will not break Hank Aaron's record until September.

And when he does, Bud Selig will not be there.

But Bonds will still get plenty of love.

And then we'll all talk about it for 739 straight days.

Speaking of records, A-Rod will hit his 500th homer, becoming the youngest player to reach the milestone.

And then he'll get booed some more.

He'll also be in consideration for the AL MVP.

And then he'll get booed some more.

Some other players will get booed. But I'm really not sure who.

Gary Sheffield will have a monster season with the Tigers, hitting 30-plus home runs. And his book will sell well. I, for one, can't wait to pick it up.

Players who will hit 40-plus home runs: Howard, Albert Pujols, Vladimir Guerrero, Big Papi, Troy Glaus, Alfonso Soriano, Lance Berkman, Paul Konerko, Jermaine Dye, Travis Hafner.

And maybe a few others...

Players who will fall short of 40 jacks: Adam Dunn, Frank Thomas, Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, A-Rod, Aramis Ramirez, Jim Thome, Andruw Jones, Derrek Lee.

And a lot of others.

A player will garner great attention by taking a hit streak into the 30s.

But we all know he won't get close to Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hit streak, one record that will never fall.

Joe Mauer will have a solid season, but his average will linger around .300 instead of .350.

And no player will come close to hitting .400, although Ichiro will get 200 hits again.

And the Twins will surprise everyone again by challenging Detroit, Cleveland and the Chicago White Sox for the Central Division.

Which will go down to the wire, with no team winning more than 95 games.

The Yankees will be good (no surprise).

The Red Sox will be good (no surprise).

And every game they play against each other will be played in a postseason atmosphere.

This just in: My friend, Tyler, says A-Rod will hit 37 home runs. So I'm going with that.

And finally...

A-Rod will get booed.

Two hours and 39 minutes...


Anonymous said...

It's still really early and I know that, but I am laying in bed watching ESPN on one TV and ESPN2 on the other. On ESPN2 it is the Reds and the Cubs. You said that Adam Dunn would not get 40 home runs. So far he has had two at bats and has hit two home runs. So far he is on pace for about 550 home runs if he gets that many at bats. Just letting you know he looks pretty solid on opening day.

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