Good times, everyone, and welcome back.
While you're reading, why not listen to U2's Mysterious Ways? An all-time personal favorite, but don't watch it on acid, as I'm sure you might find a way to jump off of a cloud into a 40 foot marshmallow.
But to the crux of today: we have important, important things to discuss today before I head to the Laundromat. It's April 6th, spring is somewhere around the corner sneaking a cig before coming back late from its lunch break, the NCAA Championship is tonight, the NFL draft is soon, and in about a month, we get NBA and NHL playoffs. But most importantly, it's baseball's Opening Day.
Although the NHL playoffs probably will not include my Nashville Predators and I'll be forced to endure another offseason of my wife reminding me that her Red Wings won their 3,481st championship, to quote ESPN Sports Guy Bill Simmons, "I'm convinced that's why we have to pay taxes in April -- it's the government's way of tainting the best month of the year." It only makes sense. So I'll break down some quick thoughts for the new month, point by point in a new segment I like to call, "No One's Reading this Far, So I Don't Have a Name for this Portion of the Blog Yet."
No One's Reading this Far, so I Don't Have a Name for this Portion of the Blog Yet
Draft season is coming, which means get ready for Mel Kiper, Jr.'s massively over-sprayed coif, and an army of reporters and "experts" telling you who every team's going to pick. I don't know, they don't know, and no one knows, because the 0-16 Detroit Lions own the first pick of the draft, and they may attempt to draft Charles Rogers. Again. I hear he's itching to play professional football again, and man, do the Lions love a big wide receiver. But in reality, they'll probably take a quarterback, and, as I'm mulling over the possibility of adopting the Lions as my hometown football team (which I'll chronicle in greater detail later), I will beseech the Lions brass to NOT take Matthew Stafford. He's a Gunslinger with a cannon, and iffy decision-making skills. Plus, he played at Georgia, so again, I can never fully root for a player from the SEC that didn't "graduate" from UT. Just like every other blogger in the Earth-region of the Milky Way, I'll be putting up a mock draft eventually, so I'll save that for later.
I'm not entirely sure what this "hockey" sport is, as it's never televised in the U.S. on a channel that more than 5 people can watch at the same time, but I hear its fascinating. Grown men on skates? Yeah, that sounds like fun. Commish Bettman, please let them fight! I always loved going to a fight as a kid and having a hockey game occasionally break out. My favorite memory of the Knoxville Speed/Ice Bears was the rivalry between them and the Asheville 'Crack' Smoke*ers*. During one infamous game, the Asheville goalie skated up behind a Knoxville forward slow getting back down the ice and cracked him across the back of the head with his stick. In the only intelligent decision I've ever seen a referee make, they didn't see the play happen, but saw the guy on the ice, managed to figure out what happened (thanks to the 2000 or so fans screaming bloody murder) and kicked that j-off out of the game. Huh? What was that you say? The NHL? Umm…bet on Pittsburgh and King Crosby. My only hope is that the Red Wings don't win their second straight Stanley Cup, as this will surely lead to my first divorce.
Because I'm actually excited for baseball season this year, I'll give you a treat: a semi-sincere rundown with predictions:
Look for the Yankees and their $500 trillion dollar payroll to make a resurgence. With the newly acquired C.C. Sabathia and the oft-injured AJ "Burn for Leaving Toronto" Burnett leading the rotation, the Yanks should have a solid pitching staff to go with a stocked lineup that now includes Mark Texeira and Alex Rodri- oops, that's right, A-Rod's out for a bit. The circus that will come around once A-Rod returns should manage to distract the team enough for my Blue Jays to at least sneak in close to a Wild Card berth, but ultimately fall short as the Red Sox and Rays take the top two spots in the division, with the second-place team taking the WC. And Baltimore will probably still suck.
Sorry, Midwest folks, but the AL Central may take the award for most boring division. Minnesota, Kansas City, Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit. I fell asleep just typing that. The Twins catcher, Joe Mauer, apparently no longer has what is known as a "working back," so he probably won't hit .500 this year, no matter how many Twins fans think he's Jesus on a baseball field. And that's the religious Jesus, not the one that lives next door to me. Heck, Holy Jesus could probably only hit .346 with Mauer's back, and that may a little generous. If the Tigers don't at least make a push for the playoffs, Detroit may erupt in their yearly riot ahead of schedule. With Ken Griffey, Jr. back in Seattle, the White Sox's average age is now back somewhere around the 20's instead of 76 like last year, so they may make a run at the division pennant too. But Kansas City seems to be a trendy sleeper pick, so I'm going to pick Cleveland due to the fact that Jacob's Field is a beauty.
Another snoozer of a division. The Rangers, like always, are most likely going to be short on pitching and long on hitting, so the young batters are due to get tired of carrying the team, and I expect a mid-to-late-season swoon. Seattle? Doubt it. And even though the Oakland Athletics have a penchant for hanging around, I still say it's the Los Angeles Juevos of Berlin's (or whatever they're calling themselves now) division until someone proves otherwise.
Probably one of the more potent divisions in baseball, the defending champion Phillies, New York Sheffields, and Atlanta Braves will fight for the crown. Don't count out the continuously rebuilding/championship contending Florida Marlins from making a serious effort, either. But the Washington Nationals are playing like George W. Bush is managing the team. So I'll go with the Braves to sneak out the minor upset, with the Mets (really?) taking the wild card spot.
Some ESPN "pundits" are expecting the Chicago Cubs to come back to Earth after last year's dream season/nightmare ending. But with a White Sox fan in the White House, do you really think the Cubbies need any more incentive to end their 100 year title drought? Albert Pujols (pronounced "Poo-holes") and a healthy Chris Carpenter can potentially carry the St. Louis Cardinals to a wild card berth, but asking Carpenter to stay healthy is like asking Dick Cheney to aim when he shoots. Not gonna happen. The Milwaukee Brewers will miss Sabathia's wins, but with the fat man no longer hogging the post-game buffet, the rest of the team will soon pack on 50 pounds each and get thrown out at first waaaay too often to win consistently. The Houston Astros will be the Houston Astros and not win the division. Cincinnati will languish at the bottom of the division and look towards next year.
Boooooriiiiiing. The Los Angeles Dodgers take this one easily, but Arizona may try to put up a fight. The Rockies? As much as I would love for Todd Helton to sniff the playoffs this year, it ain't gonna happen. The San Diego Padres? At least they're in San Diego and will have beautiful weather when they miss the playoffs.
Red Sox over Angels
Tampa Bay over Cleveland
Cubs over Braves
Mets over Dodgers
Red Sox over Tampa Bay
Cubs over Mets
Cubs over Red Sox