Predictorama! 2011: Grand Central

It is time for Part II of Predictorama! 2011, which by now you have probably realized is little more than a mish-mash of nonsense, bias, and brain burps. Of course, 98.7% of this entire blog consists of little more than nonsense, bias, and brain burps.

Anyway, today I present you with my nonsense, bias, and brain burps (in future tense!) as the relate to the NL and AL Central divisions. I have excluded the Cubs, as I hope to churn out a Predictorama piece dedicated to them entirely before the season starts.

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AL Central:

Kansas City journeyman Bruce Chen will take a no-hitter into the ninth inning. I’ll giggle.

Justin Morneau will return from his concussed 2010 season with a secret super power (unfortunately, it’s x-ray vision, which doesn’t really help him in baseball at all.)

I don’t have any predictions  for Detroit. I just want to point out that they have got lead the majors in players native to Virginia.  VA PRIDE!

AL Comeback Player of the Year: Grady Sizemore. Unless he keeps being hurt.

First place: Minnesota Twins

Last place: Cleveland Indians

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NL Central:

Adam Wainwright is totally getting Wally Pipped by Cotton Dickson.

While on an early evening pleasure cruise in the Goodyear Blimp, Prince Fielder suddenly and inexplicably falls from the craft. Fortunately, he is wearing his game jersey, which acts as a parachute and he is able to float safely down to the ground.

Hunter Pence and Ryan Braun will meet and engage in a staring contest. It ends in a draw after 13 hours.

First Place: Because the Cubs aren’t a clever choice, I refuse to pick anyone. I’m bitter like that.

Last Place: Sorry, Pittsburgh, I really am. Well… not really, but sort of.

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Postseason Roundup, Round One

2010 has certainly lived up to its billing as “Year of the Pitcher” in the first round of the playoffs. Roy Halladay did his thing. Cole Hamels: complete game shutout. Tim Lincecum: complete game shutout. Jonathan Sanchez: 7.1 innings, 1 run. Tim Hudson: 7 shutout innings. Phil Hughes: 7 runless innings. Cliff Lee: 16 total innings, 2 runs. CJ Wilson: 6.1 scoreless frames. Strikeouts are comin’ out the wazoo, and bases on balls are an endangered species. You know guys must be doing pretty well when you can make fun of Matt Garza’s 1 run in 6 innings. The only stinky pitching came from the quarters of Minnesota and Cincinnati. Even that wasn’t all stinky. Bronson Arroyo did alright. Seriously though, if this continues I expect the remainder of the postseason to be all kinds of delicious. (A Barry Zito-CJ Wilson World Series pitching match-up is still my ultimate dream.)

But how did my predictions hold up through round one? Behold:

Philly over Cincy in the battle of red-colored NL teams I can’t stand? Check. Kooky, quirky San Francisco over Bobby Cox’s Bravos? Check. Yankees over the Twins? Obviously. And the nail-biting down to the wire Rays-Rangers series? RANGERS TAKE IT!!! * Fist Pump * On a side note, if you are interested, tomorrow’s winning lottery numbers are: 10 14 23 26 31 and 42.

Here are some photographic highlights from the opening round series (one for each team):

Texas celebrates its series win with ginger ale so as to include Josh Hamilton in the festivities. A commendable decision, to say in the least.

You can cut your hair now, Mr. Longoria.

The San Francisco Giants offer a salute to Atlanta’s Bobby Cox after their series win. Classy.

Bobby says goodbye

……

No October smiles for Brandon Phillips.

Is it cold, CC?

See you next year, Mr. Mauer.

Post Season’s Greetings!

Well, my friends, the post season is upon us. What twists and turns lie in store for the eight best teams in baseball? I hope everyone will be watching to find out, even if the none of the eight teams in question hold a special place in your heart. There are still plenty of teams worth rooting for… and against.

I have collected a thought or two to share for each team, and list them here in order of least-to-most likable.

8. Philadelphia Phillies

I am ready for the Phillies time of greatness to be over. The team is so old that I have to think it soon will be. If their glorified pitching staff and punchy offense do end up carring them as far as is generally expected, it will be to my chagrin.

7. Cincinnati Reds

Call me a bitter Cubs fan, but I simply cannot wish the Red any success. The only thing I like about this team is Brandon Phillips’ smile, and I am sure that if they went all the way, it would break his face.

6. New York Yankees

I am not a rabid anti-Yankee person, I just think they should let someone else have a turn this year. If they were to repeat, I would be truly happy for one solitary reason (Kerry Wood, of course.)

5. Atlanta Braves

Sure, it’d make a great story for the Bravos to win it all in Bobby Cox’s final season, but… meh. It’s a good enough story that they made the playoffs, in my book.

4. San Francisco Giants

I am willing to let go of the Cubs-Giants grudgery of ages past (I can be a forgiving fan, see?) We did humiliate them in 1908, after all. Besides, they’ve got Little Babe Ruth now. And Buster Posey is fun to watch. And Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito, and Brian Wilson are fun to laugh at.

3. Tampa Bay Rays

The [Devil] Rays spent just long enough being the laughing stock of the major leagues as to give me pleasure in seeing them experience some success. I also like Carlos Pena and Ben Zobrist.

2. Minnesota Twins

Jim Thome has played in the post season eight times without ever having won a World Series. I like Jim Thome and this fact makes me sad.

1. Texas Rangers

I do not, in fact, like the Rangers any more than the Twins. But Minnesota won a championship in 1991. In Cubs years, that’s like yesterday.

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And here are a few bonus thoughts/opinions!

Match-up that would disgust me:

Yankees vs. Phillies

Match-ups that would bore me:

Yankees vs. Braves (The ’90’s are over.)

Rays vs. Phillies (So is 2008.)

Match-ups that I would watch with interest and pleasure:

Rangers vs. Giants (Think of the pitching match-ups! Cy Young winners Tim Lincecum and Cliff Lee! Mimbos Barry Zito and CJ Wilson!)

Twins vs. Braves (Think of the catching match-up! Joe Mauer and Brian McCann! Actually, a Twins-Giants [Mauer-Posey] contest would be almost as agreeable.)

Actual Predictions:

If I get this right, everyone owes me a jar of Nutella. To form these guesses, I used equal parts common sense and wishful thinking.

NLDS- I think that Philadelphia will dispatch Cincinnati. San Francisco will edge out Atlanta.

ALCS- I think that the Yankees will beat the Twins, and the Rangers will upset the Rays.

NLCS- The Phillies will come out on top of the Giants.

NCIS- I don’t know, I don’t watch that show.

ALCS- The Rangers will triumph over the Yankees.

World Series- I predict the Rangers will somehow defeat the Phillies. They already beat the Rays and Yankees, so why not? Like I said, wishful thinking.

Link-sational Monday!

Suit up! It’s link Monday!

The “Cubs Idol” finals were held on Saturday (click for the full scoop.) It probably isn’t a good sign that I was more excited to see who the winner of this competition would be than I am to see who will win the final spots on our bench and bullpen. Big FBB congrats to co-winners Justin Berg and Darwin Barney. It must have been one fine day for Mr. Berg, who was also awarded a roster spot Saturday.

-Our cross-town rivals have been doing some rocking out, as well. And Yahoo! has video footage.

The Trib’s Paul Sullivan had a pretty good write up on the changes the Cubs could be facing at season’s end. It’s a mite depressing, but makes me want to enjoy 2010 for all it’s worth.

-It’s proving to be a bad spring for AL Central closers. Joe Nathan will undergo Tommy John surgery, and Kerry Wood could miss the first two months of the season (sad face!) If I was Kansas City, I’d have Joakim Soria in a bubble.

Joseph Patrick Mauer and the Minnesota Twins have finally come to an agreement on an 8-year extension worth $184-million. If I made that much money, you can be sure there’d always be a jar of Nutella in my cupboard!

-So, who’s been watching college basketball? If your bracket done got busted, don’t worry about it. Have a good laugh and root for all the underdogs from here on out. I’m pulling for Northern Iowa all the way.