Thursday, March 31, 2011


if any of you were like me last year, watching in slack-jawed disbelief as the sf giants made their improbable run through much better teams to win the world series, you soothed yourself w/that old maxim: "any team can beat any other team on any given day." it was impossible not to think immediately after, "yeah maybe but not the giants." i'm not here to dwell on the past or try to take anything away from the giants. unlike mike, who still has bile rise into his mouth everytime someone mentions the twins unlikely win in '87(or '91, i forget), i just shook my head & started thinking about next season, which is now this season beginning today.

since i've always believed thomas boswell's assertion that "baseball gives us more pleasure, more gentle unobtrusive sustenance, away from the park than it does inside it," i'm here to offer up my 2011 baseball predictions that i've come up w/during these days of sickness, craziness, & dark thoughts about death.

A.L. EAST: i have boston beating out the yankees. in fact, i'm not sure that the yankees will even make the playoffs as the wildcard this year. my oddball pick here is that the baltimore orioles will finish higher than last place.

A.L. CENTRAL: i have the tigers & twins battling it out, w/the winner being whoever's pitching staff holds up. i think ozzie's shtick has jumped the shark & i wouldn't be surprised to see him given his walking papers during the season.

A.L WEST: this one is a tough one. texas didn't need cliff lee to win the division outright last year(tho they needed him during the playoffs)but oakland's manager is too much like bruce bochy across the bay: he manages to try not to lose as opposed to managing to win. i also have a lot of faith in mike scosia's angelic ways. i think this will be texas again, w/the angels coming up behind them. despite it's terrific pitching staff, oakland's offense is still too weak to play w/the big boys & geren too passive to go up against a high-roller like ron washington.

N.L. EAST: c'mon, really? of course i'm picking the phillies here. atlanta will be the wild card again this year, though my oddball pick here is that the marlins play hard all season & threaten the braves for the wildcard.

N.L. CENTRAL: reds again. i like dusty too much maybe. my oddball pick here is that milwaukee will threaten the reds & finish just behind them. the cardinals can't do it w/o wainwright & the cubs are, well, the cubs. sorry. i still wear my cubbie tee-shirt proudly but it ain't happening this year.

N.L. WEST: yes, the giants have that pitching. who can deny that after seeing them rise to the occasion last year? still, they are managed by bochy & are relying on pat burrell, mark derosa, & aaron rowand for offense. that's not going to happen, though what will happen is that a lot of the breaks they caught last year won't be coming their way a second time around. they're fortunate to be in the weakest & most unstable division in baseball but i still think the rockies will come through in the end & unseat them atop the division. i'm not sure the wildcard will come out of this division, leaving the giants at home come late october.

i'll return to these picks at the all-star break & see just how wrong i am. i'm hoping to be back in the bay area by the time things start shaking out in the first half of the season.

"Born to an age where horror has become commonplace, where tragedy has, by its monotonous repetition, become a parody of sorrow, we need to fence off a few parks where humans try to be fair, where skill has some hope of reward, where absurdity has a harder time than usual getting a ticket." TOM BOSWELL

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