Posted by mike in Predictions,Sports at 11:37 am on April 10, 2009

In a way, going 100 years without winning the World Series is almost as memory-erasing as actually ending the streak of futility would’ve been for the Cubs. At least, that’s the way I’m trying to look at it. No more looming, self-imposed deadlines; instead I think it should just be considered a clean start. That said, it’ll be a steep road to climb for the North Siders this year, as the National League has only gotten stronger and the American looks to be showing no signs of fading. Last year I went 3-for-4 with NL playoff team picks, but blanked in the AL. We’ll see if I can do better this year. Here are my division-by-division predictions for the 2009 baseball season. Teams are listed in the order in which I think they’ll finish in the standings, with playoff teams in bold.

NL West NL Central NL East
Dodgers Cubs Mets
Giants Cardinals Phillies
Diamondbacks Reds Braves
Rockies Brewers Marlins
Padres Astros Nationals
AL West AL Central AL East
Rangers White Sox Red Sox
A’s Indians Yankees
Angels Twins Blue Jays
Mariners Tigers Rays
  Royals Orioles

I suppose there are a few highlights that might deserve a bit more explanation:

  • I think the Giants are ready to turn it around, and the Rangers are ready to take a very big next step. (These probably qualify as my biggest “surprise picks.”)
  • Conversely, I think we’ll see the Rays and Angels fall right back off after their division-winning runs last year. (The Phillies, however, will contend for the Wild Card.)
  • The Yankees have done everything they can to buy their way back into the playoffs this year, but they are still only the second-best team in New York.
  • After the Brewers’ WC run last year, I think the NL Central will now go back to being the weakest division in baseball, meaning it shouldn’t be too tough for the Cubs to make it three division titles in a row. The Cardinals worry me, as always, though—and I wouldn’t be shocked if the Reds made a huge leap up from last year.
  • The Indians wouldn’t surprise me if they made a big comeback and contended for the AL Central.

I’m going to forgo the complete playoff projections for now (those are more fun to do in October), but my early World Series prediction is the Dodgers over the Red Sox. I think if that happened, the Manny-focused coverage alone might be enough to cause the Fox broadcasters’ heads to explode (and that could only be a good thing).

Comments (11)

11 Responses to “A Whole New Century”:

  • Comment by Mark J. at 9:02 am on April 11, 2009

    The way the Sox are playing now, I wouldn’t bank on them. I know it’s way early, though. Maybe they’ll peak late for once.

  • Comment by Tree at 4:41 pm on April 14, 2009

    You mean the 1-6 Cleveland Indians are gonna make a comeback? I noticed the yahoos on Yahoo all picked: CLE, MIN, CHW in that order. I don’t know why everyone keeps picking the Giants to turn it around, they were the worst-hitting home run team in baseball and have like no big bats. I think the Royals are better than a last-place team. I think it’s all MIN / CHW in the Central.

  • Comment by Mark J. at 6:36 pm on April 14, 2009

    Red Sox are 2-5. Pretty lousy start to the season, but I was blogging about their lousy start last year, too. Last year it was the BP giving it away. This year the hitting sucks, except for Youk.

  • Comment by Mark J. at 7:00 pm on April 23, 2009

    What a difference a week makes. Sox are on a 7 game winning streak and tied for 2d in the ALE. They need to take this weekend’s series with the Yankmees.

    Youk is still hitting everything thrown at him.

  • Comment by Mark J. at 9:21 pm on April 24, 2009

    Make that 8 games. :-) Mariano who????

  • The Cubs, meanwhile, continue to struggle offensively. I’m hoping they’re just getting their cold streak out of the way early…

    I don’t wanna hear about the Yankees-Red Sox series. I’m already upset that for some reason, my local Fox affiliate gives me Yankees games for two weeks in a row now (including last week, when they were down something like 16-2 after 2 innings, and yet they stuck with their coverage for the entire game—while the Cubs went extra innings and won a thriller in the bottom of the 11th). I think I’m just going to spend the entire season pretending that baseball isn’t played on Saturdays… better that than submit to the whims of Fox and their inexplicable, infuriating coverage.

  • Comment by Mark J. at 8:34 pm on April 25, 2009

    I was just as mad at Faux Sports today because I missed the second game of the You-Know-Who series (Faux understandably showed the Cubbies here). It was quite the slugfest, too. Streak is at 9 now. ;-)

    I can see Faux showing the Cubs game here, of course, but I wish they wouldn’t black out THAT’s what infuriates me. I understand they black out ALL non-Faux networks, so even if I had a dish and the Baseball Network, I would have missed it.

  • Yep, I’ve got DirecTV and the MLB Extra Innings package, and still there was no way for me to watch the Cubs game yesterday, because Fox gets exclusive rights to three games on Saturdays, and you are stuck with whichever one of those games your local affiliate chooses to broadcast. And of course it makes matters even worse when your local affiliate is completely retarded about which one they go with.

  • Comment by Mark J. at 8:58 pm on April 26, 2009

    *ahem* S-W-E-E-P ;-)

  • The way the Sox are playing now, I wouldn’t bank on them. I know it’s way early, though. Maybe they’ll peak late for once.

  • I’m hoping the same for the Cubs… :)