April 05, 2004

And Finally, We Have Arrived. The Yankees playing the Devil Rays halfway around the world at five in the freaking morning with ad-patches covering the pinstripes: NOT OPENING DAY. A Sunday night game, even taking into account that it's Pedro on the mound in Camden Yards: NOT OPENING DAY.

My requirements for an Opening Day game are apparently quite stringent, since I demand that the game be played both during the day and in the North American continent. And for those reasons I declare that the baseball season begins right this very minute, in Toronto of all places, with Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay pitching to Tiger CF Alex Sanchez.

I will spare the general public the sorry details of my two, count `em, two fantasy teams, except to pass along the telling detail that my NL team has already been dubbed the Eliminated Donkeys. However, I will not spare said GP my always-never-even-close preseason predictions, which will not even be in haiku form, shamefully enough. [Note: the below might differ from predictions I have made elsewhere; as always, all predictions are considered valid until proven otherwise.]
American League East
  1. New York Yankees: Why try to deny it?
  2. Boston Red Sox: My Wild Card pick, though I don't they're as sure a bet as most are saying (I see Mueller, Millar, and Ortiz falling off their 2003 seasons, plus Nomar and Pedro will miss a bunch of games); I just can't see the Mariners or A's beating them out]
  3. Baltimore Orioles: Much improved, plus they're the only team I actually put money on: $10 at 35-1 to win the pennant; yes, I know, no chance, but at the time I thought they'd get Vladimir.
  4. Toronto Blue Jays: Iffy rotation, iffy lineup, unhappy Delgado.
  5. Tampa Bay Devil Rays: Better, but still bad.
American League Central: I refuse to write comments on this lousy division.
  1. Kansas City Royals
  2. Minnesota Twins
  3. Chicago White Sox
  4. Cleveland Indians
  5. Detroit Tigers
American League West
  1. Anaheim Angels: If Erstad and Glaus can put up even halfway decent numbers, this team is going to win the division by at least five games.
  2. Seattle Mariners: Supposedly Freddy Garcia looks great, but my team still needs one big bat. And if that bat has to be Griffey, I'd rather lose.
  3. Oakland A's: Presented without comment, the A's lineup: Kotsay, Ellis, Chavez, Dye, Durazo, Hatteberg, Kielty, Miller, and Crosby.
  4. Texas Rangers: Sorry, Fat Guy.
National League East
  1. Philadelphia Phillies: I'd like to see them lose, if only to watch Bowa's head explode, but the next two teams lost way too much in the Winter.
  2. Atlanta Braves: It had to happen sometime.
  3. Florida Marlins: New slogan for baseball in Florida: Absolutely Huge for One Week Every Five Or So Years!
  4. Montreal/San Juan Expos: Good seats still available!
  5. New York Mets: Their promising young players are neither promising nor young: discuss.
National League Central
  1. Chicago Cubs: Even with Prior hurt, this is the best team in the league.
  2. St. Louis Cardinals: My Wild Card pick, for absolutely no good reason that I can remember.
  3. Houston Astros: Pettitte's never been a great ERA guy, now pitching in huge hitter's park.
  4. Tied for last: Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates: Ranking these three teams would be like ranking my root canals.
National League West
  1. Los Angeles Dodgers: Just a hunch in this mediocre division, and frankly, not a smart one.
  2. Arizona Diamondbacks: Hard to go against Randy Johnson and Richie Sexson, but I don't see the back end of the rotation panning out at all.
  3. San Diego Padres: Trendy pick, but I'm waiting until 2005.
  4. San Francisco Giants: Their #1 starter and closer are both hurting right now, and there's been a little distraction surrounding the left fielder.
  5. Colorado Rockies: Charles Johnson, Jeromy Burnitz, Vinny Castilla, Royce Clayton, Larry Walker...turn up the Limp Bizkit! It's like the late 90's all over again!
And for the World Series, carrying on my long-held belief that you should pick the Yankees until you have a very, very good reason not to, I'm predicting the Yankees over the Chicago Cubs. Play Ball!
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