March 25, 2011
Hey, can you believe it? Opening Day will actually be Opening DAY again this year. No Sunday night opener on ESPN this year, nor the weird Foreign Opener in Japan or the Dominican Republic. The Reds don’t actually get to throw out the first pitch (the Nats and the Yankees will beat them by an hour or so) but I guess we can’t have everything the way it used to be. Regardless, it will be great to have baseball back again. More on that in a minute.
Belated final congratulations to Tom M. who claimed the championship with 28 points. That’s a significant drop-off from Tony’s 49 points last year, but who could have predicted the Rangers and the Giants in the Series? No one had the Rangers even making the play-offs and only Pete and I had the Giants in it (and we both had them losing in the first round). So, what exciting and strange developments will this year bring? Here are a few questions for you:
– Are all you Yankee lovers ready to admit that they have an aging, very flawed roster? Dare you pick them to win the AL East with Boston having reloaded bigtime and the Rays showing that they can sustain excellence? In my opinion, the Bronx once again will be burning, and not in a good way.
– Can anyone dare to pick against the Phillies in the NL East? Assuming no injuries (big assumption) 80% of their games will be started by a pitcher named, Halliday, Oswalt, Hamels or Lee. Reminds me of Palmer, Cuellar, McNalley and Dobson, all of whom won 20 games. Or possibly, Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz and Avery (but Avery wasn’t a real star). FYI, this Braves staff won the World Series, the Orioles’ did not. (Further note: just read that Lidge and Utley are starting the year on the DL.)
– Who does one pick in the NL Central? Can Cincy repeat? Can the Cardinals avoid mental meltdown with Cartwright out and Pujols unsigned? Is THIS the year the Cubs break the curse? Can Milwaukee sneak up and win it? Anyone’s ballgame (except for the Pirates and Astros, I think).
– Can either the Giants or the Rangers recapture the magic? Hard to pick either of them to win it all – and even hard to pick them to win their divisions, but don’t bet against great pitching, whether it is on your staff (Lincecum, Cain, et al) or in your owner’s box (Nolan Ryan).
Okay, enough for now. Time to get me your picks. Please send them in by NOON CT, March 31. Remember to select the winner of all 6 divisions, the Wild Card in both leagues, the pennant winner in both leagues and the World Series Champ. Also select the batting champ, MVP and Cy Young winner in each league.
Scoring will be same as last year 3 points in the first round for a correct selection, 1 point for a playoff team selected for the wrong reason (i.e., your division pick wins the WC or your WC wins the division). 6 points for pennant winners, 12 points for the World Series champ and 10 points for each individual award. That is a total of 108.
Good luck and let’s PLAY BALL.
P.S. Invite any of your friends to join us.