Here’s your highly anticipated BAPL predictions for the 2011 season:
Red Sox, Rays, Blue Jays, Yankers, Orioles
– Unless the Baseball Gods cast another injury spell upon Boston, the Red Sox should easily conquer the mighty AL East. The Rays won’t suffer from their off-season roster exodus as much as everyone thinks, but will still fall short. Toronto will have a great year, but unfortunately, they live in AL East. The Yanks will take a hard fall this year and heads will roll in The Bronx. Buck will make the Orioles respectable, but the birds in this division would all be better off if they flew west.
White Sox, Twinkies(WC), Tigers, Royals, Injuns
– With the Red Sox taking the East, the Year of the Sock Drawer will continue in the Central with Ozzie leading the South-Siders to a narrow division title over the Twinks…it will probably come down to another last day/tie-breaker in September, but the White Sox will prevail and Minnesota will claim the AL Wild Card. The Tigers will hang in there, but ultimately fade by September. The Royals could probably win the division if they’d DFA 90% of their big league club and call up their loaded farm system. Cleveland is, well, Cleveland, though I’m looking forward to seeing a full season of Carlos Santana behind the plate.
Rangers, A’s, Los Anaheim, Mariners
– I’m probably being a homer by picking my Rangers here but honestly, after a miserable spring training, I’m not exactly brimming with confidence. As usual, the pitching sitch is not looking very promising. But I had my doubts last year and 2010 ended up being the most successful year in franchise history…they should take the West, but it won’t be easy…or pretty. If the Rangers don’t take it, then I’m pretty sure the Oaklanders will. The A’s pitching staff is top notch and they made some off-season improvements at the plate, so it’ll be close. Los Anaheim may surprise us all and just kick the living sh!t out of Texas and Oakland. They’ve got the starting pitching and a great skipper for sure, but lots o’ questions on offense and in the bullpen. Seattle is a great city (Mrs. Jonestein and I honeymooned there) and I hear Safeco is an awesome ballpark….they also have Ichiro and King Felix. *awkward silence*
Bravos, Phillies(WC), Fish, Natinals, Mets
R2C2 will be really good for the Phillies, but only good enough for the NL Wild Card, as the Braves surprise everyone by taking the East. Josh Johnson will win the NL Cy Young and the Fish will stay in it till the end, just coming up short. The Natinals will finally work their way out of the cellar, which will have a new tenant this year, the woeful New York Mets.
Reds, Brew Crew, Cards, ‘Stros, Cubbies, Pirates
This will be one of the tightest races in baseball, with the Reds prevailing over the Brew Crew and Red Birds late in September. The Astros will make another late season charge, but fizzle. The Cubs will stay out of the cellar only because it is perpetually occupied by the AAAA Pittsburgh Pirates, who will continue to audition Andrew McCutchen for his eventual ascension to a big league club.
Giants, Rocks, Padres, Dodgers, D-Backs
The defending champion Giants will once again claim the NL West, but have to scrap it out with the Rockies late in September. The Padres may challenge again, but I doubt it. The Dodgers ownership soap opera will continue to help stifle this otherwise decent club, and Arizona will continue to be a great place for Spring Training.
World Series: Phillies over Red Sox in 6
Happy Opening Day Eve!
Then they notice I also have a couple of Boston Red Sox trinkets adorning my geeky cubicle (geekible?), and more than once I’ve been schooled on this (apparently) unwritten rule:
“You can’t root for two teams in the same league!”
I’ve also seen this rule cited on many a baseball site, and I’ve never understood why it exists. I can only assume it is a result of narrow minded, absolute thinking, so I suppose I should explain my fandom rationale/methodology:
First of all, when push comes to shove, I am only a “fan” of one MLB team, and that team is the Texas Rangers. In other words, if someone has a gun to my head (this IS Texas) and tells me I have to choose one and only ONE team to root for, there is absolutely no hesitation in my response: “Whichever team Jessica Alba roots for…”. But seriously, I’m only a fan of the Rangers.
However, at a more meta-level, I’m a fan of baseball in general, so naturally, there’s a darn good chance that I’m going to follow and “support” other teams outside the realm of Rangerdom. The Astros are easily my NL team, because of proximity and my aforementioned tenures of residency in Houston. Do I follow them with the same fervor and attention I give the Rangers? No, but I always keep an eye on the goings-on down yonder. Sadly, those goings-on have not been pretty the last few years and I don’t see much hope on the horizon.
So how do I justify my support for the Red Sox? This just HAS to conflict with my Ranger fandom, right? Wrong, but I’ll get to the actual fandom rationale here in a sec. First, the obvious question: “Why the Red Sox?” Back in 2000, while on a bidness trip to Boston, I naturally took in a game at Fenway Park, and instantly fell in love with the place. The baseball atmosphere was incredible, so I’ve been a Red Sox supporter ever since. I even returned there back in October of 2009 (the atmosphere wasn’t near as exciting, but it was just a meaningless end-of-regular-season game against Cleveland).
Anyway, on to my fandom methodology, or how I avoid conflicting American League baseball loyalties:
1. Head-to-head. I always root for the Rangers when they play the Red Sox, unless the Rangers are so hopelessly out of the playoff picture and the head-to-head game is a “must win” for the Red Sox. Even then, I’m hesitant.
2. AL Wild Card Race. No brainer here. If the Rangers and Red Sox are neck-and-neck in the race for the AL Wild Card spot, then I’m full-throttle Rangers. No conflict here.
3. Someone in the AL East has to win the AL East. This is unavoidable. So I root for the Red Sox to win the AL East because I like ’em and they are not the MF Yankees. I see no harm in this.
4. Post-season Baseball. Until 2010, the words “Post-season” and “Rangers” hadn’t really been mentioned in the same sentence since the mid-to-late nineties, and I like to have someone to root for in the playoffs. The last ten years, the Red Sox have pretty much been there, so I’ve rooted for them.
So I guess you could say I’m a conditional supporter of the Red Sox, and while this still probably breaks the silly One Team Per League unwritten rule, ultimately, I don’t really give a shiite…I’ll root for whatever team I want to root for. :^P
I hope that clears things up.
For the first time in my baseball life, The Baseball Gods have bestowed upon yours truly a mercifully short off-season. Don’t get me wrong, hockey has done a very admirable job of sustaining me through The Bad Time the last coupla years, but brother, it just ain’t baseball.
Pitchers and Catchers, come hither, The Baseball Gods-Uh hath summoned thee!
…and Bengie’s HR was pretty awesome too.
Thanks for making me eat crow about trading for you, Bengie. Rays Renegade was spot on about you…absolutely CLUTCH!
Props to ACWNS09 at Lone Star Ball for the GIF.
…and I’m not particularly fond of my Rangers right now. What a heaping pile of suck this weekend was.
Gotta hand it to the Rays though, whatever the hell was said in that Friday players only meeting called by Carlos Pena sure the f*ck worked. Saturday and Sunday – THAT is the Tampa Bay Rays I was expecting to see on Wednesday and Thursday at The Trop.
Hopefully, these Rays will stay behind in Arlington and we’ll get that Seattle Mariners tribute band from last week at The Trop again Tuesday night.
Not from today’s game, but still an awesome GIF: