Off Base
2011 Predictions

March 28, 2011, 7:48 p.m. Give or take. There might be less. You do the math.

Anyway. Here are approximately 2011 things that will almost certainly happen in 2011. Probably:

The American League Cy Young Award goes to Jon Lester.

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 Joba Chamberlain's worthiness as a starter or reliever finally ends in NewYork, when he's traded in June.

Derek Jeter will appear on “Saturday Night Live" with Donald Trump (or Darrell Hammond).

The New York Yankees miss the playoffs, at least one Steinbrenner goes berserk, with Joe Girardi and Brian Cashman exiting by mid-October.

The Boston Red Sox will be baseball's first team to clinch.

Larry Lucchino will become part owner of a team working on a new stadium deal.

Team pegged most likely to improve that doesn't – Baltimore Orioles.

Grand slams number 23 and 24 put Manny Ramirez one ahead of career-leader Lou Gehrig. A nation sighs.

Pedro Martinez makes a comeback with the Tampa Bay Rays.

AL Most Valuable Player: Adrian Gonzalez.

The American League East will finish this way: Red Sox, Rays, Yankees, Jays, Orioles...

Six month's worth of enabling courtesy of the Detroit Tigers, with zero apologies from Miguel Cabrera.

These players will miss large chunks of playing time due to injury: Carlos Beltran, Milton Bradley, A.J. Burnett, Matt Cain, J.D. Drew, Justin Duchscherer, Eric Chavez, Rich Harden, Josh Hamilton, Nick Johnson, Chipper Jones, Jair Jurjens, Matt Latos, Derrick Lee, Russell Martin, Jake Peavy, Manny Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Scott Rolen, Johan Santana, Troy Tulowitzski, Chase Utley, Jayson Werth, 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. Robinson Cano, Adrian Gonzalez, Nick Markakis, Matt Kemp, James Loney, Dustin Pedroia, Juan Pierre, Hanley Ramirez, Ichiro Suzuki, Mark Teixeira and Dan Uggla.

Several prominent major leaguers will miss action, delayed by visa problems.

Another fine season from Mark Buehrle keeps the Chicago ace from retiring...thankfully.

AL Central: Twins, White Sox (Wild Card), Tigers, Indians, Royals...

"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," "it’s only May" and "you 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.

Record-continuing 11th consecutive 200-hit season for Ichiro Suzuki. Suzuki will also hit .300 for the 11th straight season, leaving him less than half-way to Ty Cobb's record of 23 consecutive.

AL West: Rangers, Athletics, Angels, Mariners.

Breakout 20-win season for Tommy Hanson.

Sinkerballer Derek Lowe will lead baseball in comebackers not fielded.

A Gold Glove Award winner will lead his position in errors.

National League Cy Young Award: Roy Halladay.

Baseball’s first manager to be fired will be Terry Collins. Additional managers cut loose include John Farrell, Kirk Gibson, Clint Hurdle, Mike Quade, Ned Yost and whoever follows Collins.

NL East: Braves, Phillies (Wild Card), Marlins, Mets, Nationals...

A prominent 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.

If there were a Sophomore of the Year Award in the National League, Starlin Castro would get it.

Albert Pujols takes up residence in Boston.

NL MVP: Ryan Braun.

NL Central: Brewers, Reds, Cardinals, Cubs, Pirates...

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."

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.

Brian Wilson will spend an inordinate amount of time attempting to look clever…and fail.

The Dodgers trade for Grady Sizemore.

Jonathan Broxton will convert 75% of his save chances, pitching reasonably well at home for a time. He'll also blow five or six games, primarily on the road, in absolutely monumental, open-the-floodgates fashion, and lose his job by July.

As a top five finisher in the NL Cy Young balloting, Clayton Kershaw leads the Dodgers in wins, strikeouts, innings pitched, complete games, shutouts, earned run average, WHIP and sacrifice bunts.

Sandy Koufax finally gets his statue at Dodger Stadium.

A new owner in Los Angeles.

NL West: Dodgers, Giants, Rockies, Padres, Diamondbacks...

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Remember, glove conquers all....







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