Play Ball

Then from five thousand throats and more there rose a lusty yell;
It rumbled through the valley, it rattled in the dell;
It knocked upon the mountain and recoiled upon the flat,
For Casey, mighty Casey, was advancing to the bat.

-From Casey at the Bat by Ernest L. Thayer.

I have been pondering sitting down to expound upon a number of posts inspired by conversations I have recently had and articles I have recently read covering topics from human trafficking to disenfranchised peoples, from Lent and the Easter season to the Emergent church. However, April 2nd, the sweetest of all spring days has arrived again. So today I talk about baseball.

The hot stove league has cooled as Spring Training has come to an end. Tremendous stories abound as Baseball becomes a more international pastime. As I mentioned last year, this is a time of excitement and new beginnings for ball clubs around the league. In that spirit of optimism, I am going to forget the fact that my predictions last year were awful and forge ahead, trusting that one day I will get something right.

First, the easy predictions:

The Rockies will still be a bad baseball team. That pitching staff is awful. Terrible. If they do not find a diamond in the rough, or, preferably, acquire a pitcher who can actually keep baseballs inside the diamond, they might finish as the worst team in the National League.

Albert Pujols will still be the best player in baseball. I was born 7 months before Reggie Jackson led the Yankees to his final World Series victory. Growing up watching baseball in the 80's and 90's there was no one else who consistently raised their team to a level of greatness like those old baseball greats. Barry Bonds comes the closest to instilling the fear that the greats instilled, but he has never been able to translate that into team success and a World Series victory. With his herculean statistics and last years World Series victory, Albert Pujols emerged as perhaps the best player that baseball has seen since the all-time greats of Aaron, Mays, Musial, Mantle and Williams.

The Yankees and the Red Sox are the greatest rivalry in sports. Although Toronto and Baltimore have both made strides in the standings in the AL East, the fire that New York and Boston play with is unmatched in baseball. In fact, a Yankees-Red Sox game is probably the premiere entertainment event in professional sports today; from a competition standpoint it is even better than the Super Bowl.

Now, for the hard calls, my 2007 MLB predictions:

NL West: Arizona Diamondbacks
NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals
NL East: New York Mets
NL WildCard: Philadelphia Phillies

AL West: Oakland A's
AL Central: Minnesota Twins
AL East: Boston Red Sox
AL WildCard: New York Yankees*

*it is very possible that the WildCard will go to a very good Cleveland Indians team who will not have to endure the difficult schedule of the AL East teams who will all beat up on each other.

NLCS: St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Mets
ALCS: Oakland A's vs. Minnesota Twins

World Series: Oakland A's over New York Mets in 6

That's what I have got for this year, as usual I reserve the right to apologize and do this again at the All-Star break. Remember that you can listen to some of your favorite team's broadcasts live - look here for your teams radio stations.

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