April 4, 2010, 7:38 p.m. This is just too easy. Can of corn. It's like, some of this stuff, I can just pluck right outta last year's column.
Here are some of the things that are almost certain to happen in the year 2010. Probably.
Spring Training stats will be forgotten in April. April stats will be forgotten by May.
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 Yankees win another American League East crown, but that's as far as they go.
There will be more discussion of Joba Chamberlain's worthiness to start or relieve than about anything Alex Rodriguez does on or off the field.
Derek Jeter will appear on “Saturday Night Live" with Donald Trump.
Larry Lucchino will become part owner of a team working on a new stadium deal.
Pedro Martinez returns to the Red Sox.
AL Most Valuable Player: Victor Martinez.
The Orioles make a nice little run, raising hope for the future in Baltimore, and finish within a few games of .500.
The AL East will finish this way: Yankees, Red Sox (Wild Card), Orioles, Rays, Blue Jays.
These players will miss large chunks of playing time due to injury: Carlos Beltran, Milton Bradley, A.J. Burnett, Eric Chavez, J.D. Drew, Troy Glaus, Rich Harden, Nick Johnson, Chipper Jones, Jair Jurjens, Hong-Chih Kuo, Tim Lincecum, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jake Peavy, Jose Reyes, Johan Santana, Ben Sheets, Huston Street, Billy Wagner, Brandon Webb, Kerry Wood, and at least half of the Giants' planned starting eight.
These men will play through an array of injuries and ailments, and appear in 155-plus games. Bobby Abreu, Miguel Cabrera, Orlando Cabrera, Robinson Cano, James Loney, Justin Morneau, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, Jimmy Rollins, Ichiro Suzuki and Michael Young.
Several prominent major leaguers will miss action, delayed by visa problems.
The Minnesota Twins will be baseball's first team to clinch.
AL Central: Twins, White Sox, Tigers, Indians, Royals.
Team pegged most likely to succeed that doesn't – Seattle Mariners.
AL Cy Young Award: Cliff Lee.
During a breakout season for Jered Weaver, the Angels' ace bests John Lackey's numbers in several key statistical categories.
"Five-tool" player will regain 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,” “it is what it is,” “clubhouse cancer," 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 game using the word "tonight," even though it was a day game.
AL West: Angels, Rangers, Mariners, Athletics.
If there were a Sophomore of the Year Award in the National League, Tommy Hanson would get it.
Sinkerballer Derek Lowe will lead baseball in comebackers not fielded.
John Smoltz pitches in another postseason for the Braves.
Southpaw Jamie Moyer will be referred to as “crafty” on a regular basis. No right-handers will be so-called even as much as once. Moyer will tire of the label, and retire.
Ryan Howard will become the first legitimate player to challenge Roger Maris’ 61 in ’61, twice.
A Gold Glove Award winner will lead his position in errors.
Stephen Strasburg's numbers: 12-6, 3.25, 125 strikeouts, and a top five finish in the NL Rookie of the Year balloting.
Baseball’s first manager to be fired will be Jerry Manuel, with Omar Minaya exiting along with him. By the All-Star break at the latest. Additional managers cut loose include Dusty Baker, Bud Black, Cito Gaston, Bob Geren and Ron Washington.
NL East: Braves, Phils (Wild Card), Marlins, Mets, Nationals.
Mark McGwire will bat .000 as a pinch hitter, faring about as well as a stand-up guy.
A star player will test positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
World Series home field advantage is handed 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 award Series home field to the league prevailing in the Home Run Derby, but the vote falls just short.
NL MVP: Albert Pujols.
NL Cy: Chris Carpenter.
Another fine season for Randy Wolf, who contributes to Milwaukee's success with his arm, the bat and the glove.
NL Central: Cardinals, Brewers, Cubs, Reds, Astros, Pirates.
Dodgers name their first captain in decades, and it's James Loney.
As a top five finisher in the NL Cy Young balloting, Clayton Kershaw leads his staff in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched, earned run average and WHIP.
Charlie Haeger will establish himself as a big league starter, pitching 200 innings, with 10-plus victories and an ERA around 3.50.
Jonathan Broxton will convert over 90% of his save chances and dominate the National League. He'll also blow a handful of games, primarily on the road, in absolutely monumental, open-the-floodgates fashion.
Blake DeWitt's numbers: 120 games, .275, 15 homers, 65 RBIs and 20 errors.
Following a campaign in which he led the sport in innings logged behind the plate, Russell Martin will luxuriate in his light schedule. Games appeared in: 150: Games caught: 135.
Career grand slams 22, 23 and 24 make Manny Ramirez the all-time leader in the category, passing the great Lou Gehrig.
Sandy Koufax finally gets his statue at Dodger Stadium.
Adrian Beltre returns to the Dodgers.
The almost only-in-L.A. divorce court melodrama will not be a distraction to the Dodgers, but Manny Ramirez will.
The Dodgers go up for sale.
Coors Field becomes a home run haven again, and the Rockies pitchers revert to days-not-all-that-gone-by status.
A ballpark in China Basin will be renamed for a telecommunications company.
Whenever and wherever the Arizona Diamondbacks sweep a series, a newspaper in the losing club’s city will run the following headline: “Fill-in-the-blank Snakebit by Diamondbacks."
Adrian Gonzalez will be pitched to more often than is appropriate, and will find himself an MVP contender. Andre Dawson will be discussed.
NL West: Dodgers, Rockies, Giants, Diamondbacks, Padres.
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