Baseball is Back!
This is the holiest week of the calendar year, and Sunday was the holiest day. Of course, I speak not about Holy Week and Palm Sunday, but rather of the first week of the new baseball season and of Opening Night.
BASEBALL IS BACK!!!!
What an epic weekend it was. Saturday afternoon, I enjoyed “The Sandlot” on TV, what was perhaps the best fantasy baseball draft I’ve ever had, and a late lunch of beer and pizza. Sunday kicked off, as you might expect, with “All Glory, Laud, and Honor” followed by an hour in a coffee shop pouring over the Boston Globe’s season preview, lunch back at the house of homemade pizza and bananas foster courtesy a roommate’s fiancé, four innings at the brand new Dartmouth baseball park watching Dartmouth whup up on Cornell, two hours practicing with my intramural softball team on the local high school football field, dinner with those and other friends, and then the Opening Night game on ESPN between the Phillies and the Mets. Right now, I’ve got ESPN on with Joe Morgan and Jon Miller calling the game as Baltimore thrashes the Yankees, and Joe Biden just left the broadcast booth. In half an hour, my boys in brick, the Houston Astros, will be on against their division rivals, the Chicago Cubs. I *never* get to see my 'Stros on national TV, but they’ll be there tonight, on Opening Day!
Seriously, does life get any better than this?
I’ve been fairly out of it the last couple seasons, not paying nearly as much attention as I usually do. That changes this year. I’ve got a busy spring term and an uncertain future after that, and baseball is going to be my catharsis. This is going to be the year of baseball for me, and it’s going to be AWESOME.
The new Dartmouth park is great, too. I’m not sure what I think of the artificial turf and infield—it means more home-games in April and May, but it may also mean more injuries. I sure liked what I saw from the team, though: 8-9, but 6-0 in the Ivy League, including sweeping Saturday’s double-header against Princeton and Sunday’s against Cornell. Cornell’s starter in the second game was awful. Mickey must have had a long busride home after giving up 7 runs without a single out in the second inning. His replacement, Corey, wasn’t much better, throwing every pitch in the dirt. Let me tell you, that makes for some great heckling material for a fan and his cracker jacks.
Here then are my predictions for the new Major League season:
AL East: Boston Red Sox
AL Central: Chicago White Sox
AL West: Anaheim Angels
AL Wild Card: Tampa Bay Rays
AL Champions: Boston Red Sox
NL East: New York Mets
NL Central: Chicago Cubs
NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Wild Card: Philadelphia Phillies
NL Champions: New York Mets
World Series Champions: New York Mets
AL Rookie of the Year: David Price
AL Cy Young: Jon Lester
AL MVP: Josh Hamilton
NL Rookie of the Year: Jordan Schafer
NL Cy Young : Johan Santana
NL MVP: David Wright
Worst Team in the Majors: San Diego Padres
First Manager Fired: Dave Trembley, Baltimore
The teams most likely to upset these predictions are the New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins, and Houston Astros. The most likely Cinderella stories – not that most likely means likely – are probably the Texas Rangers in the AL and the Cincinnati Reds in the NL.