April 5, 2004

The smiles are returning to the faces


"Here Comes the Sun"

Little darling, it's been a long, long lonely winter

Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun, and I say, it's alright

Little darling, the smiles are returning to the faces

Little darling, it seems like years since they've been there

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun, and I say, it's alright

Little darling, mmmmmm, I see the ice is slowly melting

Little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear

There goes the sun

Here comes the sun

And I say, it's alright

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun

Here comes the sun

And I say, it's alright

It's alright

It's alright

OPENING DAY IS HERE! ("It seems like years since it's been here")

Enjoy the smorgasbord of baseball games today. Barring the creation of a national holiday that involves a nude Jessica Alba spending 24 hours in a room alone with guys named Aaron who live in Minnesota and have baseball blogs, Opening Day is my favorite day of the year.

Because everyone's doing it and I might as well get in on the action too, here are my predictions for 2004:

American League East:

1) New York Yankees

2) Boston Red Sox (Wild Card)

3) Toronto Blue Jays

4) Baltimore Orioles

5) Tampa Bay Devil Rays

American League Central:

1) Minnesota Twins

2) Kansas City Royals

3) Chicago White Sox

4) Cleveland Indians

5) Detroit Tigers

American League West:

1) Oakland A's

2) Anaheim Angels

3) Seattle Mariners

4) Texas Rangers

National League East:

1) Philadelphia Phillies

2) Atlanta Braves

3) Florida Marlins

4) New York Mets

5) Montreal Expos

National League Central:

1) Chicago Cubs

2) Houston Astros (Wild Card)

3) St. Louis Cardinals

4) Cincinnati Reds

5) Pittsburgh Pirates

6) Milwaukee Brewers

National League West:

1) San Diego Padres

2) San Francisco Giants

3) Los Angeles Dodgers

4) Arizona Diamondbacks

5) Colorado Rockies

Individual Awards:

AL MVP: Alex Rodriguez

NL MVP: Barry Bonds

AL CY: Johan Santana

NL CY: Randy Johnson

AL ROY: Bobby Crosby

NL ROY: Ryan Wagner

AL MOY: Ron Gardenhire

NL MOY: Bruce Bochy

American League Playoffs:

New York over Minnesota

Boston over Oakland

Boston over New York

National League Playoffs:

Philadelphia over Houston

Chicago over San Diego

Chicago over Philadelphia

World Series:

Boston over Chicago

And, for good measure, 75 random predictions for 2004:

1) Joe Mauer will have a higher on-base percentage than A.J. Pierzynski.

2) Despite moving to first base, Darin Erstad will hit no better than he has in center field.

3) Bobby Crosby's OPS will be within 10% of Miguel Tejada's.

4) Francisco Rodriguez will lead American League relievers in strikeouts.

5) Richie Sexson will lead the National League in home runs.

6) Randy Johnson will win at least 17 games and lead the NL in strikeouts.

7) John Kruk will make the ears of a baseball-watching nation bleed profusely.

8) Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling will win more games than any other pair of teammates.

9) Bill Mueller will once again hit .300.

10) Derrek Lee will be among the top 10 in the NL in home runs and RBIs.

11) Esteban Loaiza will be closer to the 2003 version than the 1995-2002 version.

12) D'Angelo Jimenez will be one the top five second basemen in the National League.

13) Ken Griffey Jr. will not stay healthy.

14) Adam Dunn will hit 40+ home runs.

15) Brandon Larson will be one of the top 10 offensive third basemen in baseball.

16) Danny Graves will lose his closer job by mid-season.

17) The media will make a big deal out of one or two players not being selected for the All-Star game and no one will care three days later.

18) Travis Hafner will be one of the top 10 offensive first basemen/designated hitters in the American League.

19) Victor Martinez will be among the top five offensive catchers in the American League.

20) Cliff Lee will be Cleveland's best starting pitcher.

21) Aaron Miles will hit .300 for the Rockies.

22) Joe Morgan will acknowledge the true author of Moneyball...Paul DePodesta.

23) Jason Kendall will be traded to a contender.

24) Hee Seop Choi will be among the top five in the NL in walks.

25) Josh Beckett will strikeout 200+ batters.

26) Armando Benitez will save 35+ games.

27) Jeff Kent will drive in 120+ runs.

28) Ichiro! will win the AL batting title.

29) Juan Gonzalez will drive in 100+ runs.

30) Carlos Beltran will finish in the top five for AL MVP and will not be traded.

31) Jeremy Affeldt will lead the Royals in wins.

32) Derek Jeter will finish among the top five AL MVP vote-getters.

33) Jeff Weaver will shave at least 30% off his 2003 ERA.

34) Eric Gagne will blow a save.

35) The Dodgers will score at least 100 more runs than they did last season.

36) Neither Cristian Guzman or Luis Rivas will post an OBP above league-average.

37) Johan Santana will lead all American League, non-Boston pitchers in strikeouts.

38) Nick Johnson will finish among the top 10 in the NL in walks and on-base percentage.

39) Tony Batista will hit more home runs than he has walks and the sum of his OBP plus his RBIs will not equal 400.

40) Mike Cameron will be one of the top five offensive center fielders in baseball and will win a Gold Glove.

41) Mike Piazza will drive in 100+ runs.

42) Jason Giambi will be one of the top 10 offensive players in baseball.

43) Hideki Matsui's OPS will rise at least 20% from 2003.

44) Derek Jeter will lead the AL in runs scored.

45) Jose Contreras will win 15+ games.

46) Arthur Rhodes will save 35+ games.

47) Bobby Kielty will have an OBP of at least .370.

48) Jermaine Dye will nearly double his OPS from 2003.

49) Erubiel Durazo will add 100 points to his slugging percentage from 2003.

50) Kaz Matsui will not win NL Rookie of the Year.

51) Pat Burrell's OPS will rise by at least 30%.

52) Eric Milton will not make 30 starts and will be out-pitched by Carlos Silva.

53) Jason Bay will be one of the three best offensive rookies in baseball.

54) The Padres will improve their win total by more than any other team in baseball.

55) Sean Burroughs will be one of the top five offensive third basemen in baseball.

56) Jake Peavy will win 15+ games.

57) So will David Wells.

58) Barry Bonds will hit more home runs than he did in 2003.

59) Reggie Sanders will drive in 100+ runs.

60) The Yankees will trade for a second baseman who has been an All-Star at least twice.

61) Alfonso Soriano will join the 40/40 Club.

62) Mark Texeira will be among the top 10 in the AL in homers.

63) Hank Blalock will be among the top five in the AL in batting average.

64) Javier Vazquez will lead the AL in wins.

65) Brandon Webb will once again be better than Dontrelle Willis.

66) Johnny Damon will cut his hair and shave.

67) Mark Prior will be the best pitcher in baseball during the second-half of the season.

68) Carl Crawford will steal more bases than the Blue Jays and A's.

69) Jeremy Bonderman will be Detroit's best pitcher.

70) Octavio Dotel will save 35+ games.

71) Geoff Jenkins will get hurt.

72) Doug Mientkiewicz will have an OBP above .400.

73) Shannon Stewart will not get a single vote for AL MVP.

74) Eric Chavez will improve significantly against left-handed pitching.

75) Alex Rodriguez will have an amazing season, and people will say he doesn't deserve the MVP because the Yankees are too talented and good.

Today's picks:

Cincinnati (Lidle) +180 over Chicago (Wood)

Milwaukee (Sheets) +220 over St. Louis (Morris)

San Francisco (Rueter) +180 over Houston (Oswalt)

San Diego (Lawrence) +105 over Los Angeles (Nomo)

Philadelphia (Millwood) -160 over Pittsburgh (Wells)

Cleveland (Sabathia) +130 over Minnesota (Radke)

Total to date: $110

W/L record: 1-1

*****Comments? Questions? Email me!*****

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