March 31, 2008
Give or take. There might be less. You do the math.
Anyway. Here are approximately 2008 things that will almost certainly happen in 2008. Probably.
The Yankees starting staff will have the highest earned run average in the division, and finish third. Without a veteran manager to run interference for him, or a majority of executives to support him, Brian Cashman will be relieved of his duties, and just plain relieved.
A major star will test positive for performance enhancing drugs.
Derek Jeter will host “Saturday Night Live."
Alex Rodriguez's numbers: .310, 44 homers and 136 RBIs.
AL Cy Young Award Winner: Chien-Ming Wang.
Trade rumors swirl around Manny Ramirez, but he’ll remain in Boston once again.
Larry Lucchino will become part owner of a team working on a new stadium deal.
Nomar returns to Boston.
As predicted just about everywhere, the Rays will surge, and challenge the 70-win mark for the second time in franchise history.
The American League East will finish this way: Red Sox, Blue Jays, Yankees, Rays, Orioles…
These players will miss large chunks of playing time: Moises Alou, Milton Bradley, A.J. Burnett, Bartolo Colon, J.D. Drew, Jim Edmunds, Nomar Garciaparra, Brian Giles, Ken Griffey, Jr., Mike Hampton, Orlando Hernandez, Randy Johnson, Chipper Jones, Hong-Chih Kuo, Pedro Martinez, Andy Pettitite, Mark Prior, B.J. Ryan, Ben Sheets, Gary Sheffield, John Smoltz, Randy Wolf and Kerry Wood.
AL MVP: Grady Sizemore.
Southpaw hurlers Kenny Rogers and Jaime Moyer will be referred to as “crafty” on a regular basis. No right-handers will be so labeled even as much as once.
AL Central: Indians, Tigers (Wild Card), White Sox, Twins, Royals…
The Seattle Mariners are the first team to clinch.
Unlike Bill Stoneman, Tony Reagins will be an active participant in his club's personnel management, but will greatly regret his trading of Orlando Cabrera.
Juan Pierre will appear in more games than Milton Bradley.
AL West: Mariners, Angels, Rangers, Athletics…
Ryan Howard will become the first legitimate player to challenge Roger Maris’ 61 in ’61, twice.
NL Cy Young Award: Going out on a limb here. Johan Santana.
NL MVP: Ryan Howard.
A Gold Glove Award winner will lead his position in errors.
These players will play through an array of injuries and ailments, and appear in 155-plus games. Miguel Cabrera, Jeff Francoeur, Rafael Furcal, Hanley Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins, Grady Sizemore, Ichiro Suzuki, Dan Uggla, Michael Young and Ryan Zimmerman.
"Five-tool" player will regain its lofty 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,” “it is what it is,” “clubhouse cancer," "it’s only May" and "do the math" round out the top ten.
Countless players, play-by-play guys, and color commentators will refer to a just completed game using the word "tonight," even though it was a day game.
NL East: Braves, Mets, Phillies, Marlins, Nationals…
World Series home field advantage granted to the American League for the final time, as Major League Baseball drops the All-Star Game brainchild and goes back to an every-other-year schedule. A proposal is floated to hand Series home field to the league prevailing in the Home Run Derby, but the vote falls just short.
The NL Central holds the distinction of being the division with the year's worst combined record, looking every bit like the 2005 NL West.
Biggest waste of free agent money: Aaron Rowand, followed by Jose Guillen and Scott Linebrink. Most ill-fated extravagance for players well past their prime: Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Eric Gagne and Andruw Jones. Too much money, just generally: Carlos Silva, Torii Hunter, Francisco Cordero and Kosuke Fukudome.
With Albert Pujols first mortal-like performance, along the lines of .315, 30 and 100, the Cardinals wind up in the cellar.
Rick Ankiel will retire as an outfielder to concentrate on pitching, or pharmacology.
Baseball’s first manager to be fired will be Joe Maddon. Additional managers cut loose include Bob Geren, Ozzie Guillen, Charlie Manuel, Willie Randolph and Ron Washington.
Eric Gagne’s numbers: 8 saves, 6.25 ERA, three stints on the disabled list and zero responsibility.
NL Central: Cubs, Brewers, Astros, Reds, Pirates, Cardinals…
Brad Penny, Derek Lowe and Chad Billingsley; the winningest threesome in baseball.
J.D. Drew will not be missed in Los Angeles; nor in Boston.
Whenever and wherever the Arizona Diamondbacks sweep a series, newspapers in the losing club’s city will run the following headline: “Fill-in-the-blank Snakebit by Diamondbacks."
The one-two punch of Brandon Webb and Dan Haren will be every bit as good as advertised, and better. We're talking Curt Schilling - Randy Johnson-like success. But the departure of 2007 Arizona closer, Jose Valverde, will cost the aces some wins.
Monster breakout season for Adrian Gonzalez.
A ballpark in China Basin will be renamed for a telecommunications company.
Unemployed in San Francisco, Brian Sabean will come calling for a job in Los Angeles, and not get one.
Barry Bonds numbers: .000 batting average, 0 homers, 0 RBIs, 0 convictions and 0 prison time.
Sandy Koufax finally gets his statue at Dodger Stadium.
NL West: Dodgers, Diamondbacks (Wild Card), Rockies, Padres, Giants…
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