Saturday, April 01, 2006

NL Predictions

You have to say this about Metstradamus. He's at least consistent.

Here's what he wrote after I had the gall to put the Leiter-Barfield trade in the same sentence with the Kazmir-Zambrano debacle.

Okay, this is why I hate you.

You have the absolute gall to compare Al Leiter for Jesse Barfield to Kazmir for Zambrano. Those two trades aren't even in the same area code in terms of how awful they were.

Leiter had at least a look in the majors before he was traded for Barfield, and while he did have potential, he also had blisters. And while in hindsight you can say the trade didn't work out, you can't say that there was the backlash over trading Leiter as there was over trading Kazmir. Mets fans do not need the benefit of hindsight to tell you that was a disgusting trade.

Here's the new rule: when you win 26 titles, and you defeat the Mets in the only World Series ever played against each other, you lose all rights and privelages to play the role of the victim. Those two trades do not even belong in the same blog let alone the same sentence.

Let me get this straight, just because my team is successful, that means I have to give up my right to criticize my team when they make a bad baseball move? I have to rubberstamp every move my team makes even if it makes me smash my head through a wall in private? Not gonna happen.

I never tried to play the role of victim by talking about the Leiter trade. Maybe it wasn't the best of ideas to use the Kazmir-Zambrano trade, one of the dumbest trades in the history of the sport, in comparison. But that doesn't mean I was trying to curry sympathy and the victim status that comes along with it. All I was trying to do was say that the Yankees have suffered from some of the same bad judgement that every other club has experienced. It was the reason for our drought in the mid-60's to mid 70's and our decline in the late 80's to early 90's. It was in no way meant to start a pity party for Yankee fans.

I love how Mets fans are so protective of their victim status. Nobody can feel more sorry about us than us. We have the worst management ever! How dare you say different! Noone sucks like us!!!
Don't worry, infidels. I have no desire to take the Death Star down the Pity Central Expressway. Baseball Gods don't envy or try to emulate paupers. It would be like the Israelites making it to the Promised Land and saying "Well you know, Egypt wasn't all that bad...let's go back." No thank you. I'll take paradise over eternal bondage anyday.

Metstra also took exception with my AL Predictions and the way I decide to spend my Sunday afternoons.....

I know you have this complete chubby for the American League, but dude, you have three teams in the entire league under .500, and their composite record is 1200-1068! There isn't that many interleague games.

And sweet tea? Just suscribe to "Doily Weekly" and get it over with.

Since my little dig about using spellcheck wasn't clever enough for the Bill Buckley of Mets Fans....I've decided to give his dig the attention it deserves in this entry.

First off, anyone who has lived in or visited the South knows what sweet tea is. It's a delicacy that's very hard to find up North. And is well worth searching for. But I'd expect that level of ignorance from someone who's 1)Pushing 40 and doesn't know how to drive 2)Doesn't have a passport and 3)thinks Vegas is a tropical country below the equator.

Fans of the Senior Circuit hate hearing this almost as much as "Defending World Champion New York Yankees" but the American League is a much better league than the National League. It has been that way since 2004. You have as many eight teams that could make the playoffs in the Junior Circuit. Five of those teams can beat anyone in the National League. The lineups are deeper even if you factor in the DH. The hitters are tougher and the pitchers are tougher because they're battle-tested over a season. Even the bad teams like Baltimore and Tampa can hit the cover off the ball.

If you want to talk about the strategy that goes into playing without the DH, fine. That's an important point. The American league still wins hands down.

Was I a bit generous in saying that the Tigers, Mariners and Rangers would be above or at .500? Maybe. But I feel those teams will definitely be around that mark, probably around five games. Even if you take those teams out of the equation, the American League is the better league.

The Cardinals are the cream of Senior Circuit once again. I like St. Louis. The Angels, Red Sox, White Sox and Yankees would all beat "The Lou" in a seven game series. Heck, the Cards couldn't beat the Astros and you saw what the ChiSox did to them.

Here's hoping you have more reason to hate us after the season....

Here are my NL Predictions....

NL East
1)Mets 93-69
2)Braves 90-72
3)Phillies 85-77
4)Nationals 82-70
5)Marlins 74-88

If the Mets don't do it now, they'll never do it. With the additions to their offense and their bullpen, the scions of Shea are primed to break the Braves deathgrip of the NL East division. As long as Pedro stays reasonably healthy and Wagner is Wagner, they'll have a great shot. Wright and Reyes will have another year under their belts and while I don't think they'll make anyone forget about Jeter and A-Rod just yet, they'll both be All-Stars. I think LoDuca will be important cog in Willie's ship, both defensively and at the plate. The Jones boys are still in Atlanta as well as Smoltz and Hudson. But how long can they keep ahead of the pack. Particularly with Mazzone no longer to keep their pitching staff together? I think this is the year that they fail to get it done. Although I reserve the right to change my mind...The Phillies have a great lineup, but they have the same problem the Rangers have; mediocre pitching in a very, very hitter friendly park. Plus Bobby Abreu does his annual ode to Terri McMillan (Disappearing Acts for the literary impaired) around August. I predict Flash Gordon's shoulder will explode by July 21st. The Nationals will be fun to watch, particularly with Soriano, but they'll fade from contention by late July. The Marlins have lost too much to stay competitive what may be the most competitive division in baseball. Joe Girardi is going to have pull a rabbit, a lion and three pitbulls out of his hat to get to .500. Plus I think Dontrelle Willis is going to have a down year. Miguel Cabrera, however, will try to join Andre Dawson and A-Rod as the latest MVP winner from a last place club. He'll lose though to Pujols.

NL Central
1)Cardinals 102-60
2)Astros 86-76
3)Brewers 84-78
4)Pirates 79-83
5)Cubs 78-84
6)Reds 75-87

A very uneven division. The Cards are clearly the class of the division with the MVP and Cy Young winners on the roster. Don't know what that will mean for the playoffs, but they should wreak havoc during the regular season. Now if Tony LaRussa can stay out of his own way, they might make another appearance in the Fall Classic. While I don't know if this is last we've seen of Roger Clemens, I doubt that the Astros have another rabbit to pull out of their bag of tricks. Yes they have great starting and relief pitching. But their lack of offense is what concerns me. Biggio is a year older, Bagwell is on the shelf indefinitely and I don't know if Tavares, Berkman and Ensberg will be enough to compensate. Maybe they make another run at the wildcard, but I doubt that they seriously challenge St. Louis for the division. Ben Sheets is starting the season on the DL, but I still think the Brew Crew will make another important step back to respectability. They'll make some waves in the wildcard race. That's right, I have the Pirates finally getting out of the basement. I love two young arms Perez and Day (I can't believe the Yankees had this kid)and I think Jason Bay is a superstar in the making. They've made some interesting moves in the offseason acquiring Randa and Casey. Pittsburgh should be a fun team to watch this season. With Prior and Wood banged up, the boys of the North Side will struggle to stay within shouting distance of .500. I love Zambrano, Derek Lee and Aramis Ramirez. But there are too many question marks with the pitching staff. Does Maddux have anything left in the tank? I might end up regretting this pick, but I'm staying with it for now. Dunn, Griffey, Kearns and company will hit plenty of balls out of the Great American Bandbox, but Brandon-excuse me-Bronson Arroyo and his cohorts will give up plenty as well. Hopefully, Reds fans will catch enough souvenirs to make a last place finish palatable.

NL West
1)Dodgers 94-68
2)Giants 91-71
3)Padres 84-78
4)Diamondbacks 74-88
5)Rockies 66-96

The Left Coast traditionally gives us great pennant races. And this year will be no exception. I love what the Dodgers have done inquiring Furcal, Mueller, Seo and Nomahh. If (and that's a big if)they can stay healthy and Gagne returns to form, I think they have enough balance to be the class of the division. Grady Little might not be the best in-game manager, but he's showed that he's excellent in dealing with strong personalities and egos when he was in Boston. His presence will definitely help lockerroom matters in LA-LA land. You could have Oliver Wendell Holmes, Hugo Black and Earl Warren investigating Barry Bonds and it wouldn't matter. With him back in the Giants lineup, everyone becomes at least 10 percentage points better. Since there's nothing George Mitchell or Bud Selig can do to Barry legally to keep him out of the lineup...outside of him testing positive for something, getting hurt or being shot by a sniper...the Giants should be contend for the division and wildcard this year. The Padres have solid pitching and play in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in the majors. But I doubt acquiring Mike Cameron, Mike Piazza and Vinny Castilla will mean more than third place this year. Personally I would kept Adam Eaton and Otsuka. They lucked out last year when injuries decimated Los Angeles and San Francisco. Not likely to happen this year. The D-Backs have one good starter in Brandon Webb and two average starter in Brad Halsey and El Duque (provided his arm doesn't fall off, he is 150 years old). But I doubt Miguel Batista returning to Phoenix and Russ Ortiz will mean more than 70 plus wins for this team. That and the fact that their offense, while decent, doesn't have enough shovels to dig out of the huge holes their pitching will create. The sooner the Rockies move out of Denver, the better. Can we all agree that putting a baseball team 5,000 feet above sea level was a bad idea?


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