Sunday, April 05, 2009

MLB 2009!!!!!!!

Preface:

I won't reminisce about the joys of last year's championship because a new year is upon us. It isn't my style to discuss my religion like that. It's a private thing - something for you and your tribe. Just know that when you win a championship after a drought of 20 years or more, it pretty much frees your soul and allows you to do previously impossible tasks like exposing a corrupt municipal government or talking to women that are way out of your league.

One thing I'm having trouble figuring out is how to address all of the drought-era superstitions I've developed over the years around the Phillies. I haven't really blogged it, but for those of you that don't know, I'm a HUGE baseball fanatic. I'm kind of over-the-top.

One superstition I have is that I never publicly pick against the Phillies. NEVER! Under any circumstances. For instance, last season I impulsively left town for South Philly when we got to the NLCS. One of the great characters from my life, Upstairs Dan (who occasionally drops by WCBF as an anonymous commenter), decided to torment me with an impossible scenario. He cornered me and demanded to know what I would do if I could only have one of two things - either the Phillies win the World Series or Barack Obama wins the Presidency. Now this was truly unfair. Obviously I couldn't possibly pick against the Phils in the middle of a deep playoff push, the first time we'd made to the NLCS since I was eight years old. But would I really doom the whole country to another GOP administration in the midst of a worldwide financial crisis of our own making? The Phils are obviously going to continue to be competitive but it was now or never for Barack Obama.

I picked my Phillies! I said F-U to America and my integrity as a committed progressive blogger. It happened. I meant it. Upstairs Dan was incredulous. How could I? He threatened to put it on my blog and ruin my "career." And I didn't hear the end of it. The Phils kept on winning. Lucky for me, Obama won the Presidency and I got the best of both worlds.

So now I have a little bit of a conundrum. I'm about to publish my 2009 predictions but I'm having a real internal debate over whether or not I'll be able to sleep at night if I pick the Phillies to finish any worse than 150-12. I mean, we're the champs. I won. I don't have to just pick the Phils because all I have in life is springtime optimism. Plus I don't think the Phillies had the greatest off-season. I don't think replacing Burrell with Ibanez is an upgrade. I've always respected him as a player but Ibanez is getting old. And I'm not sure how functional it is to bat lefties at 3-4-5. Plus Hamels pitched A LOT of innings last season. Our bullpen overachieved. It's tough to repeat in baseball...

What will I do...


MLB 2009!!!!!!!

American League

AL EAST

1. Boston Red Sox
2. Tampa Rays
3. New York Yankees
4. Baltimore Orioles
5. Toronto Blue Jays

This is an incredibly tough division to win. I worry about the Rays falling back to the pack this year but their roster is just so impressive. I think they got lucky with injuries last year. The Orioles are going to hit and they finally have a game plan after a decade in the wilderness.

AL CENTRAL

1. Cleveland Indians
2. Chicago White Sox
3. Minnesota Twins
4. Kansas City Royals
5. Detroit Tigers

This is tough to handicap. The Indians have been a favorite of baseball purists for the last few seasons but they've kneecapped themselves with poor first halves. They're due. The Royals will be better surprisingly competitive and I could easily see them finishing third over the Twins, who I think play soft, and the Tigers who I think are going to have to shed talent and salary for economic reasons starting in May or June.

AL WEST

1. Oakland A's
2. Los Angeles Angels
3. Texas Rangers
4. Seattle Mariners

I thought the Angels were the best team in baseball last year but I really hate what they did this off season and I think the AL WEST is suddenly amongst the weakest in the game. The Mariners have a better roster than they've proven on the field but they don't work well as a team. They need a new plan. I like the risks the A's took this winter. They'll need to be especially healthy.

AL PLAYOFFS:

Boston over Oakland
Tampa over Cleveland

Boston over Tampa


NL EAST

1. Philadelphia Phillies
2. Florida Marlins
3. New York Mets
4. Atlanta Braves
5. Washington Nationals

The top four teams in this division are all capable of making the playoffs. It's going to be a bloodbath. I hate the Mets so I'm picking them to finish in third behind two playoff teams. "K-Rod" is going to have a bad year, Santana is going to get hurt, and Jose Reyes is going to continue to earn the resentment of his teammates and the rest of his league for his lackadaisical effort and his overall badditude. The Marlins are really really talented. They might be the best team in the National League secretly.

NL CENTRAL

1. Chicago Cubs
2. Cincinnati Reds
3. St. Louis Cardinals
4. Milwalkee Brewers
5. Houston Astros
6. Pittsburgh Pirates

The Reds are secretly really balanced and have finally changed the culture of the franchise after dumping losers like Adam Dunn. The Brewers lost too much pitching but I was tempted to dump the Cardinals down into fourth because I really just don't like them.

NL WEST

1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Arizona Diamondbacks
3. San Fransisco Giants
4. San Diego Padres
5. Colorado Rockies

This division is getting better quickly. If the Giants can figure out their starting eight, their starting pitching could be the best in the league, Barry Zito renaissance or not. The Padres seemed willing to unload assets this off season but I don't think they're too far off from being competitive.

Florida over Chicago
Philly over LA

Philly over Florida

World Series: Phillies over Red Sox

Back to back champs!!!!

I couldn't help it guys. I can't not pick my hometown nine!

But if Boston beats LA in the World Series instead, I wouldn't be too surprised.

12 comments:

Clay said...

The Rays are awesome and young. It's more likely that they'll improve rather than regress. They're going to be a powerhouse for MANY years without doing a thing.

The A's would be so much better without Eric Chavez and Bobby Crosby stinking up their lineup (and payroll).

Dear God, I hope you're wrong about K-Rod. My fantasy team will die in its infancy if that's the case.

Adam Dunn was one of the few watchable players on the Reds the last few years. He's also a pretty cool dude. I remember him giving his signed glove to a fan to get the homerun ball back for a rookie on his team. He strikes out and can't hit for an average, but he walks and hits monstrous jacks.

NL West sucks and will continue to suck.

Clay said...

Oh yeah, and the Giants are going to bring back Bonds, Jeff Kent, and Ricky Henderson and just have a bunch of old men yelling at each other.

Ryan said...

E ...

The Yanks finish 3rd, and miss the playoffs? What are you basing that on ... the irrational Yankee hatred that infects all non-Yankees fan?

The Rays are good ... but their pitching rotation was LUCKY last season ... in staying healthy. They had all 5 starters make at least 27 starts, being the only team MLB in several years to have that happen IIRC.

The Sox will be good, but they're in the best division in baseball. That keeps them out of the playoffs for the first time since ... 2006.

Here's my prediction for the AL East:

1. Yanks
2. Rays
3. Sox
4. Blue Jays
5. O's

I have no complaints about your pics for the AL Central.

The AL West, on the other hand ... I think the Angels will beat out the A's ... but barely.

AL Playoffs
Yanks over Tribe
Rays over Angels

Yanks over Rays

As for the National League ...

NL EAST

1. Marlins
2. Phillies
3. Mets
4. Braves
5. Nationals

I have no issue with your pics for the NL Central.

The NL West, on the other hand, I think the Dodgers will be edged out by the Giants. Pitching beats offense. And the Giants just may have the best rotation in that division. The Dodgers lost Lowe, and didn't really make up for it. I love Joe Torre, but the way he uses pitchers is ridiculous.

NL Playoffs
Cubs over Marlins
Giants over Phillies

Cubs over Giants

World Series
Yanks over Giants

ryan said...

Jeez ... need coffee.

World Series should be:

Yanks over Cubs

jeffrey said...

You're underestimating both the Cardinals and Mets.. although I think you're doing this on purpose.

I've obtained an obligatory rooting interest in the Orioles via marriage... although I'm having difficulty reconciling this with being a life long Red Sox fan.

And may I throw in a GO CUBBIES for good measure.

E said...

Ryan, I don't have an anti-Yanks bias. I actually have a lot of Yankees fans in my family and I probably respect the pinstripes more than most other non Yankee fans you'll meet. Rather, I think the Yankees are vulnerable because I think they have more adjustments to make; I think their bullpen is vulnerable and I think that their rotation has some injury-prone pitchers.

Clay, I agree that the Rays are really dangerous and are going to be competitive for many years to come. I think that they're going to have significant bullpen issues this year.

In a division as tough as the AL East, small weaknesses are going to make big differences.

I have the Yanks missing the playoffs but they'll be a 92 win team that misses the playoffs.

Picking the Giants to make the playoffs over the Dodgers is bold but wrong. They do have a great young pitching staff. And they are going to be much better than they were last year. But they don't have the depth on offense, they don't have the bullpen. They're not a complete team. The Dodgers didn't need to resign Lowe. Guys like Kershaw and Billingsley are great pitchers. I bet the Dodgers have one of the 5 lowest ERAs in baseball. Plus their offense is going to be the best in that weak-hitting division.

Jeffrey, I am DEFINITELY discounting the Mets. It's because I HATE them. But - they do have MAJOR chemistry issues in their clubhouse. I just think it's a good division and that the Mets will play themselves out of a playoff spot like they have the last 2 years. Plus I think playing on Citi Field makes them deserving of a generational curse.

I think the Cardinals, who I also just plain don't like, are legitimate candidates to take a step back. I mean is Ryan Ludwig really going to hit 30 homers again this year? No. That division might not have gotten appreciably better in the offseason but I'd say it got deeper. The Cards are going to have their work cut out for them.

E said...

Oh and Adam Dunn has a well-known reputation for not caring about winning. That's why he's never been on a good team. He's a bum.

And also I agree that the A's blew it by locking up Crosby and Chavez. They've got to keep their fingers crossed to overtake the Angels. I just can't in good conscious pick the Angels to win that division after the horrendous winter they had.

ryan said...

Jeffrey ...

A Red Sox fan? Now I know why you're Gloomy Pants.

jehu said...

Looks like the Braves brought their brooms to Philly. Remember you can't go through life having it all!

/thanks for the shout-out big E.

E said...

No brooms at all my man. I watched that comeback in the bottom of the 7th. Good stuff. We needed that giveaway to get our bats going.

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