March 30, 2013, 1:01 p.m.
This is just too easy. Can of corn. It's like, some of this stuff, I can just pluck right out of last year's column.
Here are some of the things that are almost certain to happen in the year 2013. Probably.
Major League Baseball standings will be listed alphabetically through April 1 at the latest.
American League Cy Young Award goes to David Price.
With the lifetime home run record now clearly out of reach, Alex Rodriguez gets two steps closer to retirement. A-Rod’s numbers: .260, 10 homers, 35 RBIs, in not an inning more than 50 games played.
As usual, the World Series will be a better, truer, more spontaneous event than the Super Bowl, with actual crowd shots of real fans, but the commercials won’t be nearly as good.
The debate over whether Joba Chamberlain should be a starter or reliever is forgotten, and replaced with a debate over whether Aroldis Chapman should be a starter or reliever.
Derek Jeter will appear on “Saturday Night Live” with Donald Trump (or Darrell Hammond).
The New York Yankees miss the postseason, at least one Steinbrenner goes berserk, with Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman exiting by mid-October.
Larry Lucchino will become part owner of a team working on a new stadium deal.
The Toronto Blue Jays improve by leaps and bounds, but with Jose Reyes injured at least once, settle for second place.
The American League East will finish this way: Rays, Blue Jays (Wild Card), Orioles, Red Sox, Yankees.
Detroit’s Tigers are baseball's first team to clinch.
As the AL’s third or fourth best starting pitcher at the time, Justin Verlander doesn’t start the All-Star Game, and his team benefits, regaining home field advantage in the World Series.
AL team pegged most likely to improve greatly that doesn't – Kansas City Royals.
A Gold Glove Award winner will lead his position in errors.
Several prominent major leaguers will miss action, delayed by visa problems.
AL Central: Tigers, White Sox, Indians, Royals, Twins.
Mike Trout and Bryce Harper are mentioned in the same breath more than any non-teammates since Henry Aaron and Willie Mays. Baseball savvy fans are reminded of Ben Grieve and Alvin Davis.
"Five-tool player” regains its rightful position as the most overused phrase in baseball, leaving "we all have to be on the same page" in the dust. "Flu-like symptoms," "strained oblique," "anything can happen in a short series," “back in the day,” "intestinal fortitude,” “chain of custody" "there’s no crying in baseball” and “it’s only May” round out the top ten.
Countless players, play-by-play guys and color commentators will refer to a just completed contest using the word "tonight," even though it was a day game.
Sinkerballer Derek Lowe leads the game in comebackers not fielded.
Top-five MVP finisher Adrian Beltre, plus another Gold Glove.
Motivated in its first season as an AL club, Houston’s Astros surprise with a 68-94 record.
The Angels look outside the organization for an outfielder as Trout returns to center by June 1.
Angels fans concern about years seven, eight and nine of Albert Pujols’ contract is replaced with worries about years four, five and six.
AL MVP: Trout.
AL West: Angels, Athletics, Rangers, Mariners, Astros.
Debate over Mike Rizzo’s 2012 innings limit for Stephen Strasburg continues, with neither supporters nor detractors being placated. Strasburg just goes out and pitches his way to a top three Cy Young finish.
Atlanta’s Braves get what they bargained for with Justin Upton, and then some. With brother B.J., not so much.
The Philadelphia Phillies are as old and broken down as the preseason consensus, but still manage to contend before finishing third, with 85 wins.
Baseball’s first manager to be fired will be Terry Collins. Additional managers cut loose include Ron Gardenhire, Girardi, Clint Hurdle, Charlie Manuel, Eric Wedge and whoever follows Collins.
NL East: Nationals, Braves, Phillies, Mets, Marlins.
A prominent player will test positive for performance-enhancing drugs. He’ll deny deny deny, come up with the most fantastic excuse known to man, and lose the obligatory appeal. America will celebrate.
These players will miss significant chunks of playing time due to injury: Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, Josh Hamilton, Rich Harden, Roy Halladay, Josh Johnson, Reyes, Pablo Sandoval, Huston Street, Troy Tulowitzski, Chase Utley, Jayson Werth, and David Wright.
These men will play through an array of injuries and ailments to appear in 155-plus games. Billy Butler, Miguel Cabrera, Robinson Cano, Starlin Castro, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Andrew McCutchen, Hunter Pence, Alexei Ramirez, Ichiro Suzuki, Dan Uggla and Ben Zobrist.
NL Central: Cardinals, Reds (Wild Card), Pirates, Brewers, Cubs.
NL team predicted most likely to contend that doesn't – Arizona Diamondbacks.
Whenever and wherever Arizona sweeps a series, a newspaper in the losing team’s city will run the following headline: “Fill-in-the-blank Snake-bit by Diamondbacks."
Buster Posey proves to be as close to contract-worthy as is humanly possible, and is a top five finisher in the NL MVP race. .315/.390, 25 and 100.
A ballpark in China Basin will be renamed for a telecommunications company.
Brian Wilson will spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to look clever…and fail.
Asdrubal Cabrera to Los Angeles.
To their detriment, critics will harp on Zack Greinke’s years-old anxiety disorder issues, but he will be just fine. Better than fine. 16-10, with a 3.25 ERA and 200 Ks in 200 innings.
Chad Billingsley succumbs to the inevitable and undergoes Tommy John surgery.
Benefitting from those extra three days off he’s afforded, A.J. Ellis proves to be anything but a flash in the pan. His numbers: .275/.395, 15 and 65.
Carl Crawford earns Comeback Player of the Year consideration with his 285/.350, 100 runs, 60 RBIs and 40 steals. L.A’s best leadoff man since Brett Butler.
Ending speculation about his being platooned for the time being, Andre Ethier hits .260 against left-handers, and .300 overall.
Millions hold their breath every time Matt Kemp chases a teammate after a game-winning hit.
NL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez.
Clayton Kershaw’s earned run average balloons to 2.65 as he wins his second Cy Young Award in three seasons. Leads NL pitchers in sacrifices; wins a Gold Glove too. Kershaw’s greatest mark is made in the postseason, however, as all comparisons to Sandy Koufax are deemed not just on the table, but welcome, fair and very much appropriate.
Koufax finally gets his statue at Dodger Stadium.
NL West: Dodgers, Giants, Dbacks, Padres, Rockies.
NL Pennant: Dodgers.
AL Pennant: Rays.
World Champion: Dodgers.
Remember, glove conquers all....
Dennis Gilbert Spring Baseball Classic, now through March 30
March 23, 2013, 2:49 p.m.
It’s the 4th Annual Dennis Gilbert Spring Baseball Classic, it’s going on now through March 30 at the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Compton, and you should support it if you possibly can.
The MLBYA is an MLB-run community space, with three main goals: to give kids a place to go – a good place to go – to stress academics, and to teach baseball. Additional academies have been built in Puerto Rico, Houston and New Orleans, with Cincinnati, Philadelphia and South Florida in the works.
Students from the following Los Angeles high schools are participating in the round-robin tournament: Dorsey, Eagle Rock, Fremont, Fulton Prep, Gardena, Hamilton, Hollywood, Jefferson, King-Drew, Maywood, Monroe, Roybal, Sotomayor, SOCES, South East, South Gate, Sylmar, University, Venice and Wilson. Wood bats are used.
You probably know Dennis Gilbert as baseball’s first “super-agent,” former Dodgers owner hopeful, and the guy who sits directly behind home plate at Dodger Stadium pretty much every night during the season. Here’s a bit more from the event press release:
“Gilbert played baseball at Gardena High School, Los Angeles City College and for four years in the minor leagues before launching a highly-successful career in the insurance business and as a sports agent. He is chairman and founder of the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation, which provides financial assistance to former baseball scouts in need. Gilbert also personally funded the baseball diamond at Los Angeles Southwest Community College, which has been used by the local program of Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities (RBI). He serves on Major League Baseball’s Salary Arbitration and Player Development committees, is special assistant to Chicago White Sox Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, and is an active board member and supporter of the MLB Urban Youth Academy.”
The tournament began Thursday, and my apologies for getting this to you late. The remaining schedule is below.
Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy, El Camino College, Compton Center (west of football field) 901 East Artesia Blvd. Compton, Calif. 90221, 310-763-3479.
Saturday, March 23
Hamilton vs. Sotomayor at Hamilton, 3 p.m.
University vs. Dorsey at Roybal, TBD
Venice vs. Roybal at Roybal, 3 p.m.
Monroe vs. Jefferson at UYA#1, 9 a.m.
South East vs. King-Drew at UYA#1, 11:45 a.m.
Maywood vs. Eagle Rock at UYA#1, 3:15 p.m.
Fremont vs. Fulton Prep at UYA#2, 12:15 p.m.
Wilson vs. University at UYA#2, 3:30
Monday, March 25
Hamilton vs. Jefferson at Hamilton, Noon
Eagle Rock vs. Fulton Prep at Hamilton, 3 p.m.
Wilson vs. Gardena at Roybal, 2:30 p.m.
South East vs. Roybal at Roybal, 6 p.m.
University vs. Dorsey at UYA#1, 9:30 a.m.
Maywood vs. Fremont at UYA#1, 12:15 p.m.
Venice vs. King-Drew at UYA#1, 3:30
Hollywood vs. Sylmar at Monroe, 10 a.m.
Monroe vs. Sotomayor at Monroe, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, March 26
SOCES vs. Hollywood at Hamilton, 10 a.m.
Hamilton vs. Monroe at Hamilton, 1 p.m.
Dorsey vs. Wilson at Roybal, Noon
King-Drew vs. Roybal at Roybal, 3 p.m.
Maywood vs. Fulton Prep at UYA#1, 9:30 a.m.
Gardena vs. University at UYA #1, 12:15 p.m.
Fremont vs. Eagle Rock at UYA#1, 3:30 p.m.
Jeferson vs. Sotomayor at Venice, 3 p.m.
South East vs. Venice at Venice, 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 27
Quarterfinals and Consolation games
Hamilton 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Roybal, Noon and 3 p.m.
Sylmar, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
UYA#1, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
UYA#2, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.”
Friday, March 29
Semifinals at MLB UYA#1, 10:30 a.m. and #2, 10 a.m.
Saturday, March 30
Championship game and all-star presentation at Southwest College, Dennis Gilbert Field, Noon.
Statue for Sandy
The 2013 Baseball season is going to be verrrry interesting, with much-loved new Red Sox coach John Farrell directing Boston in their Fenway games this year while at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, we're looking at yet another glittering season comin' right up!
Statue for Vinny
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