Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Opening Day

Forget that there have already been two games played outside the United States. And forget that made for ESPN game so they could declare that they have the opening night game. Opening Day in Major League Baseball begins April 5 in many cities across the country.
But as the season begins, MLB hasn't hesitated to stumble out of the box. No reason the season had to begin in Japan. And to make the defending World Champs play a one-game series in Miami wouldn't be what I would call "in the best interest of baseball."
I don't want to compare leagues, but this is one area the National Football League has succeeded in. They begin their season with the defending champs playing at home, not on the road to play second fiddle to a team opening a new ballpark.
 But with the start of the season, hope springs eternal. The Chicago Cubs begin anew with a front office that is completely different than a year ago. The owner is the only familiar face at 1060 W. Addison. The team president, general manager and manager are all new. Fans will know some of the players, but it some new names will be found at different corners of the infield. It is the beginning of a different philosophy on Chicago's North Side. It has been 104 years since a championship has been awarded to the Cubs, and I don't see it happening this year, but a new way of thinking will endear this lovable loser team to their die-hard fan base.
This year's All-Star game will be played in Kansas City. Play there by the Royals will be better, but a play-off spot is still not on this team's radar. They are one of the unlucky ones to be in the same division with the Detroit Tigers, a franchise with some of the better players in the American League. So that brings me to my predictions:
Division Winners
  • American League East - New York Yankees
  • American League Central - Detroit Tigers
  • American League West - Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
  • National League East - Philadelphia Phillies
  • National League Central - Cincinnati Reds
  • National League West - San Francisco Giants
  • AL Wild Card - Texas Rangers & Tampa Bay Rays
  • NL Wild Card - Miami Marlins & Milwaukee Brewers
Since the Kentucky Wildcats won the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship, and every time they win, the Yankees also win the World Series, I'll take New York to defeat the Phillies in six games, with the majority of the games played in the NL park.

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