If you’re not a fan of baseball, this may not be for you.
This is for the real fans. Yeah, I’m talking to you. You completely equate Spring with the crack of the bat, parking lot pre-gaming at 10 a.m. and of course justified heckling even South Park would blush to. Yes, we are the idiots who drop a bill to sit in rain for three consecutive hours. Like Phillies fans who waited two decades, regaining their full pride with their team’s championship or Tampa Bay who were content with just even being there and surpassing both super powers of the Yanks and Sox as division leaders. That’s the essence of the game and the devotion of being a fan. This devotion is why after countless seasons, the die-hard fans survive.
We recognize that same passion when we write about music as well as our other outside interests. So like an album review, we break down what shines, what falters and remind you why we even give a care in the first place. If you read this far, welcome brethren. We’re fans too. And here’s our take on the 2009 MLB season, starting with the National League first.
NL East Projected Standings — Jason Hortillas
2.New York Mets
The obvious choice is to go with defending champions, the Philadelphia Phillies. It’s hard to argue against it when the New York Mets rotation is not solid outside of Johann Santana. Obviously, the Mets have addressed their bullpen woes by signing J.J. Putz and last year’s saves leader, Francisco Rodriguez. With the top two teams again in contention, the bullpen won’t determine the NL East crown but it will be in the Mets hands not to blow it a third time. The Atlanta Braves picked up sought after starter Derrick Lowe, but the loss of Mark Texiera last midseason put the nail in the coffin. The Florida Marlins shown “rays” of light as an early division leader last year and ended with being a spoiler with players like Hanley Ramirez. Looks like the Washington Nationals may take that role for the division this year with younger talents like Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes.
NL Central Projected Standings — Patrick M.
1. Chicago Cubs
2. St. Louis Cardinals
3. Cincinnati Reds
4. Milwaukee Brewers
5. Houston Astros
6. Pittsburgh Pirates
In 2009 the NL Central will feature the story of a long-suffering franchise trying to escape its sordid history. No, I’m not talking about the Cubs and their insufferable, obnoxious, bandwagon, cock-sucking fans. I’m talking about the Pittsburgh Pirates who are suffering from the dreaded “Curse of The Chronic.” As in they haven’t finished over .500 since 1992. One more year would set an MLB record and as my projected standings show, I think we’ll be seeing history. As for the rest of the division, it will probably be closer than last year’s thrashing, but the Cubs should have enough offensive power to outlast the Pujols’s. Relying on Dempster, Zambrano, and Harden to make it through the year healthy and effective is mighty risky, however so hopefully, the Cards can pull it out. Can you tell I’m sick of living on the North Side yet?
NL West Projected Standings — MZ
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. Arizona Diamondbacks
3. Colorado Rockies
4. San Diego Padres
5. San Francisco Giants
Manny Ramirez. Many believe this name will be the only reason the Dodgers will take this league again. True enough, he sparked a post All-Star break rally last year, but this is a solid lineup without him and even better with him. The departure of Derek Lowe will hurt and they’ll be relying on a young pitching core. Luckily for them, the Diamondbacks have the exact opposite problem and will have to rely on Brandon Webb & Co. to carry an inconsistent offense. So whoever gets the most out of their weaknesses will win this tight division. Just keep in mind that arms wear out quicker than bats and LA has plenty of bats. Colorado and San Diego will only make headlines if contenders come to pilfer their ripe pitching staffs, come late July.
NL Wildcard Projected Standings — Jason Hortillas
1. New York Mets
2. St. Louis Cardinals
3. Arizona Diamondbacks
Note I didn’t put the Milwaukee Brewers. That’s because they no longer have C.C. Sabathia. Without that power arm, the Mets would have easily taken the wildcard last year as they blew their own division lead. Right on the Amazin’s back will be the ‘Cards who also will have another battle with the Cubs for the division, and St. Louis will fight for this as soon as the Cubs clinch. Arizona rounds third as the NL West typically has sub par records and those regular season losses will hurt them down the stretch.
Tune in tomorrow as we give our predictions on the American League.