Bold Predictions for the 2013 Baseball Season

Sometimes merely picks the teams to win the division and wild card is too random — I mean, I am usually entirely wrong and as predictions go, they’re pretty boring. So, I thought I’d whip up 10 bold predictions for the 2013 season that if they do come true, well, I might need to change careers. Here goes.

  1. Yoenis Cespedes will hit at least 40 HR. It seems like it has been awhile since any Oakland Athletic hit 40 HR. 13 seasons to be exact, when Jason Giambi (still kicking around with the Indians after almost getting named manager of the Rockies) hit 43. Cespedes is in his prime and looked very comfortable in the majors during the second half of 2012.
  2. Houston won’t be the worst team in baseball. The newly-American Leagued Astros have been getting a lot of grief over their AAA roster in the majors right now. However, I think that two teams actually might be worse: the Marlins and the Rockies. Sure, Miami has Giancarlo and Colorado has Troy, but the absolute lack of hitting for the Marlins and utter lack of pitching for the Rockies might put them into the 105+ loss realm.
  3. Joe Girardi will be fired by the end of the season. Here’s a fun one! Sadly, Joe will be the fall guy after Jeter, CC and Teixiera combine for over 162 games on the DL. I find it hard to imagine the 2013 Yankees being much different than the 2013 Red Sox … except there isn’t anyone to take on the Yankees bad contracts.
  4. Seattle makes a run at the playoffs. The Mariners have a few things going for them right now: good pitching, better hitting and closer fences. Of course, they are in a killer division, with the A’s, Rangers and Angels. However, they  will make a run at the end of the summer, but ultimately miss that second wild card by a game or two.
  5. Jacoby Ellsbury is traded by the deadline. Don’t get me wrong, I love Jacoby. He’s a Beaver like me and been a blast to watch when he’s not hurt. Unfortunately for him, his contract (or lack there of) for 2014 and the presence of Jackie Bradley Jr. means that Sox can try to get some value for Jacoby. My hunch might be a 1B prospect.
  6. The Tigers win the AL Central by 10 games or more. The Indians, Royals and White Sox might not like it, but the Tigers might lap the field in the Central. Sure, Cleveland and Kansas City are better than 2012, but too many problems remain. However, one of those teams might make a run at that second Wild Card.
  7. Tim Lincecum has Tommy John surgery. OK, not much of a bold prediction, but something must be wrong with Timmy after dropping off the face of good pitching over the last year.
  8. Ryan Zimmerman and Bryce Harper combine for 75 HR. Distribute the homers as you seen fit, but the Nationals will be a great team in 2013. The Braves will also be a good team, possibly the second best in the NL, but they’ll have to settle for the Wild Card again.
  9. Josh Beckett is traded again at the deadline. Josh wears out his welcome in Los Angeles as the Dodgers underperform yet again. Likely destination: the Royals as they try to make that playoff run (that fails).
  10. Cincinnati bests Toronto in the World Series. It will be a close Series, but in the end, Chapman is able to close the door on the Jays.

The All Seafood Baseball Team

Sometimes I lie awake at night when I can’t sleep and think about relatively odd things. Last night I was wondering if one could construct an all-seafood* baseball team – and after a little digging on Baseball-Reference.com, I was able to make a passable roster of such players. Enjoy!

The Lineup

  • C Hank Conger – Mike Scoscia might hate him, but I’ll have him on the All Seafood team
  • 1B Mike Carp
  • 2B Ron Oester – Did I cheat here? Yes, I did. Too bad.
  • 3B Melvin Mora
  • SS Lip Pike – Lip played for the Worcester Ruby Legs in 1881 at age 36 after taking 3 years off. I’m hoping he took those three years from 1878-81 hunting down the rabid buffalo.
  • RF Kevin Bass – Bass is the most common fishy name in MLB history.
  • CF Mike Trout – Might he become the best seafood player ever? Only Tim Salmon stands in the way.
  • LF A.J. Pollock
  • DH Tim Salmon – With 299 career home runs, Tim is the king of the sea!

Pitching staff

  • SP Brian Bass
  • SP Art Herring – Not really an illustrious career, but did lead the major in hit-batsmen in 1931.
  • SP Dory Dean – If you can believe it, Dory Dean went 4-26 in 1876, even with a 3.73 ERA.
  • SP Harry Eells – I know some of you might say “that can’t pronounced ‘eels’!” However, his nickname was supposedly “Slippery”, so I’m right.
  • SP Anthony Bass
  • CL Chris Ray – To my great disappointment, there has never been an MLB closer named Muddy Mudskipper

Some players that didn’t make the cut for being at least a marginal major leaguer included Michael Clampitt, Snapper Kennedy and Keith Darter.

Got any suggestions of players I missed?

* Are freshwater fish we eat also called seafood? Seems odd to me.

 

Why MLB Blackout Rules Need to End Now

Sometimes I think that MLB.tv is the greatest invention ever. However, it can never, ever, ever really take that prize while the inane MLB Blackout rules stay in place. For those of you unfamiliar with this concept, MLB will “blackout” all home and away games for people trying to dare watch the games on the internet via MLB.tv. I think the idea is twofold: (1) blacking out the games is required due to cable deals with regional networks and (2) blacking out games will get people to buy tickets to see the games instead. Both of these lines are nuts because, for reason (1), many people with MLB.tv are not likely to be cable subscribers as well. As for reason (2), how many people do you know that think “the game’s not on TV? I guess I’ll spend $100 to see it live.”

If you’ve never seen the MLB Blackout map, prepare to laugh.

So, if you live in the following cities, which teams are you not allowed to see ANY games on MLB.tv?

  • Boston, MA: Red Sox (reasonable)
  • Rochester, MN: Twins, Brewers (hmmm)
  • Klamath Falls, OR: Mariners, A’s and Giants (well, huh, that’s weird)
  • Charlotte, NC: Orioles, Nationals, Reds and Braves (Yes, all those Reds fans in … Charlotte?)
  • Des Moines, IA: [the colors blind me]: Cubs, White Sox, Twins, Brewers, Royals, Cardinals, Ham Fighters, Logicians

That is only a smattering of the fun if you examine this map in detail.

This all got me wondering – just how far away can you get from a team and still be blacked out? I tried some different combinations and here are some fun distances to consider (first number is straight line distance, second is driving distance):

  • 356/442 miles: Charlotte, NC is blacked out of all Baltimore Orioles games
  • 409/491 miles: Reva, SD is black out of all Colorado Rockies games
  • 457/567 miles: Eudora, AR is blacked out of all Kansas City Royals games
  • 542/735 miles: Clayton, NM is blacked out of all Arizona Diamondbacks games
  • 562/720 miles: Mobile, AL is blacked out of all Miami Marlins games

And the record for the continental US

  • 834/1,065 miles: Wibaux, MT is black out for all Seattle Mariners games

Jeff Sullivan of Lookout Landing pointed out that if you leave the friendly confines of the North American continent, Hawaii enjoys black outs of all Giants, A’s, Padres and Mariners games as well. Hawaii is a mere 2,725 miles from Sodo Mojo, so those crafty MLB plutocrats know that people can just hop a Hawaiian air flight to Seattle to catch a game. The Mariners have it good, though, as Alaska is also part of the team’s designated blackout zone, so those of you in Point Barrow only have 1,926 miles to fly (if you want to drive to the game, you’re out of luck – Google Maps tells me “We could not calculate directions between Point Barrow, AK and Seattle, WA.”)

So, there you have it. MLB loves money, but instead of loving all money equally, they love the money from big cable corporations more than fan money, so we’re stuck with insane blackout rules. What can we do about it? Nothing, because MLB is exempt from antitrust rules so they can do whatever they want as the owners eat caviar out of Bud Selig’s loafers on the decks of their yachts.

Enjoy the game (if MLB lets you).

 

My 2010 MLB Predictions

Ah yes, Opening Day is around the corner, so as I do most years, I will make my prognostication about the 2010 MLB season. Now, sometimes I employ simulations, sometime I make wild guesses and sometimes I do a little of everything. This year I’m employing a system called Player Ranking and Evaluation for Season Standings, or PRESS. What does that mean? Not much beyond looking at the depth charts, assigning some values, adding short columns of small numbers and voila! I have predictions. Enjoy at your leisure…

American League East

  1. New York Yankees: 102-60
  2. Boston Red Sox: 98-64
  3. Tampa Bay Rays: 93-69
  4. Baltimore Orioles: 70-92
  5. Toronto Blue Jays: 61-101

After finding out that Shaun Marcum will be the Opening Day starter for the Jays, I feel like 61 wins is generous. Also, it sucks to be the Rays in the AL East.

American League Central

  1. Minnesota Twins: 81-81
  2. Chicago White Sox: 80-82
  3. Detroit Tigers: 74-88
  4. Cleveland Indians: 67-95
  5. Kansas City Royals: 63-99

The land of AL mediocrity. Again.

American League West

  1. Seattle Mariners: 93-69
  2. Texas Rangers: 84-78
  3. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: 70-92
  4. Oakland A’s: 69-93

I worry I am blinded by the fact I really, really want the ‘Ners to win the West, because I’m fond of them and I like a lot of their players. I’m also concerned that the Angels might be undervalued here, but here, what is the fun of predictions if you don’t go out on a limb?

National League East

  1. Philadelphia Phillies: 99-63
  2. New York Mets: 92-70
  3. Atlanta Braves: 83-79
  4. Florida Marlins: 77-85
  5. Washington Nationals: 63-99

I would have to assume that the Mets winning 92 games is predicated on Omar Minaya being bound and gagged for most of the season and every member wearing a magic amulet to keep them healthy. But yeah, the Phils win the East again.

National League Central

  1. Chicago Cubs: 86-76
  2. St. Louis Cardinals: 85-77
  3. Milwaukee Brewers: 83-79
  4. Cincinnati Reds: 78-84
  5. Houston Astros: 75-87
  6. Pittsburgh Pirates: 71-91

Maybe, just maybe, things will break for the Cubs. Maybe.

National League West

  1. Arizona Diamondbacks: 94-68
  2. Colorado Rockies: 93-69
  3. Los Angeles Dodgers: 91-71
  4. San Francisco Giants: 85-77
  5. San Diego Padres: 73-89

Last year in this space, I bolding predicted the Dbacks would win the West … and they promptly sucked. This is a message to Josh Byrnes: please, don’t suck again.

Playoffs

ALDS

  • New York over Minnesota
  • Seattle over Boston

NLDS

  • Philadelphia over Colorado
  • Chicago over Arizona

LC

  • Chicago over Philadelphia
  • Seattle over New York

World Series

  • Seattle over Chicago

Yes, the ‘Ners win it all in 2010. I mostly wish this so I can hear whatever brilliant thing Ichiro might say upon winning the World Series.

Your 2010 Boston Red Sox

Or so it seems right now:

Starters

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury LF (yes, LF, according to the Sox)
  2. Dustin Pedroia 2B
  3. Kevin Youkilis 1B
  4. Victor Martinez C
  5. Adrian Beltre 3B
  6. David Ortiz DH
  7. J.D. Drew RF
  8. Mike Cameron CF
  9. Marco Scutaro SS

Rotation

  1. Jon Lester
  2. Josh Beckett
  3. John Lackey
  4. Daisuke Matsuzaka
  5. Clay Buchholz

Bullpen

  • Jonathan Papelbon
  • Daniel Bard
  • Hideki Okajima
  • Ramon Ramirez
  • Manny Delcarmen
  • Boof Bonser
  • Tim Wakefield

Bench

  • Jason Varitek (C)
  • Mike Lowell (3B)
  • Tug Hulett (UT)
  • Jeremy Hermida (OF)

I like it!