Oh it was such a mild winter.  Hardly any snow this winter.  What an easy winter we had.

Yeah, yeah, it was still winter, which means it was miserable.  And now it’s over.  It’s summer now because…

IT’S OPENING DAY!

I’m a bit late with it this year, but in keeping with a tradition that goes back to when I would handwrite them and post them on the door of my dorm room, I humbly submit this year’s prognostications.  Done with my usual level of insecurity (the NL Central and AL West could go either way, the AL East could go a few different ways, and the NL East is more wide open– and more flawed– than you’d think) blended ironically with my usual boldness.

For faithful readers, once change of note beyond having to pick two wild cards for each league: no predictions on pennant winners and the World Series.  I said something about this in last year’s picks and the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced it’s true:  it’s virtually impossible to predict who’s going to win a series October, particularly in April.  People tend to admire the sentiment “anything less than a championship is a failure” or “our goal is to win the World Series.”  Both sentiments border on insanity.  Not that you don’t want your team setting lofty goals, but part of what makes winning a championship so hard is that you have to win three short series in a row to do it.  Starting this year you might also have to survive a sudden-death one-game playoff.  Those series don’t always go to the better team involved in the series.  They do always go to the team that gets hot at the right time.  The hot team isn’t necessarily the better team.  It’s one of two very good or even great teams that happens to catch fire at the right time.    Do that three series in a row and you’re talking to the Mayor in front of a cheering crowd.   You would think matching up the rosters would help you predict who will do that.   You would think looking at respective pitching staffs would help you do that.

Remember Mets-Reds in 1973?   In a less extreme case, remember Phillies-Cardinals last year?  Remember a whole bunch of other examples in between we could probably all cite if we thought about it?

No one can guarantee championships.  You can build your team in such a way that you put yourself in a position to contend for one year in year out (the Phillies, Rays, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers, Braves, and Angels among a few others have been awfully good lately at doing that) for championship or at least a playoff spot.  Once the playoff starts, you may as well break out the darts, blindfold, and the labeled board.

Speaking of which, here at last are my fearless forecastings:

AL EAST

1. Tampa
2. New York
3. Boston
4. Toronto
5. Baltimore

AL CENTRAL

1. Detroit
2. Cleveland
3. Kansas City
4. Minnesota
5. Chicago

AL WEST

1. Los Angeles
2. Texas
3. Seattle
4. Oakland

Wild Card 1: Texas
Wild Card 2: New York

NL EAST

1. Philadelphia
2. Atlanta
3. Washington
4. Miami
5. New York

NL CENTRAL

1. Milwaukee
2. St. Louis
3. Cincinnati
4. Pittsburgh
5. Chicago
6. Houston

NL WEST

1. San Francisco
2. Arizona
3. Los Angeles
4. Colorado
5. San Diego

Wild Card 1: Atlanta
Wild Card 2: St. Louis

You heard it here first!

Happy Opening Day!

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