Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Small Piece of Heaven on Earth

Continuing with the theme of the spring, I'm going to relate this post to heaven.

Yes, tomorrow is the beginning of heaven on earth. You see, each year the weather starts to change (at least theoretically) and we get 162 glimpses of heaven on earth.

Because, let's face it, there's nowhere where the grass is greener or the sky is bluer than at a baseball game. The sights, the sounds and the smells are simply amazing.

Opening day is tomorrow. In anticipation of opening day, I'm going to make some predictions.

Let's start in the National League.

NL East Champs: Philadelphia Phillies - Honestly, I can't see how anyone picks against them. Adding Cliff Lee to a team that was already great? Yikes. Coming in second will be Atlanta, and they will most assuredly be in the hunt for the Wild Card, which I'll get to.

NL Central Champs: Cincinnati Reds - I have a lot of faith in this team. They should be solid again this year and they'll win a lot of games. I'm really excited to see Chapman get some more time on the field, taking over the place Rhodes had maintained.

NL West Champs: San Francisco Giants - Lincecum will lead this team through their division again. Coming in behind them will be Colorado.

NL Wild Card: This one's a toss-up between the Braves and the Rockies. For the purpose of picking someone, I'm going to pick the Braves, which means that the NL looks exactly the same in my 2011 predictions as the NL looked in 2010 at the end of the regular season.

So, there ya have it. The Giants and Phillies will meet in the NLCS where the Giants won't be able to match the Phillies 4-man playoff pitching rotation.

AL East Champs: Boston Red Sox - This absolutely pains me to write, but the additions they made (Gonzalez and Crawford), there is very little chance of them not making the playoffs this year. Their pitching staff is still money, and they took Carl Crawford from the Rays, therefore they weakened a division rival while strengthening their own roster. Great off season for the BoSox. Yankees and Rays won't exactly be the red-headed step-children in this race, but Boston will come out on top in 2011.

AL Central Champs: Minnesota Twins - Their team is pretty well intact (in the era of free agency), and they have a great chance to win their division. Lots of people are picking Chicago here but Mauer will lead his team to another division title. He's one of the top 3 players in the game right now, and he makes his whole team better. My vindictive side tells me that Pavano is going to get hurt this year, but that's probably just my bitter side talking.

AL West Champs: Oakland A's - I originally thought this was going to be a slam dunk for the Rangers to win again, but after doing a little more research, it wouldn't shock me at all to see the A's pick up the division this year after finishing at .500 last year. They made some good additions and Texas lost their ace in Cliff Lee.

AL Wild Card: New York Yankees - Originally I had Tampa Bay winning the Wild Card, but after doing a little reading, I'm not so sure. So, the Yankees, being my favorite team don't have to do a lot to convince me. Honestly, though, it would not shock me if the Yankees do not make the playoffs this year. They have an extremely weak pitching rotation, even IF A.J. Burnett makes a turnaround (and that's a really big if). Tampa, Chicago and Texas will all be in the hunt for the wild card.

In the playoffs, Boston beats Minnesota to win the ALCS.

This, naturally sets up a Boston vs Philly World Series, which means that the World Series Trophy will be back on the East Coast, where it belongs.

I refuse to pick the Red Sox to win the whole thing, Philly will win in 6.

All-in-all, I'm sure that I'm wrong. I hope that I'm wrong and the Yankees win the whole thing!