Someone with whom I am very close says:
Rosh haShanah, Yom Kippur and Opening Day. Right? In the beginning…
So here we go, knowing that those to whom I send this have been unable to sleep in anticipation….
I toyed with the idea of New York(A) being too old and not making the wild card
and it could happen, but lineups with A-Rod and Cano in them will score runs. Yes, I frequently expect the Red Sox to win but not always. In 1986 I was shocked at how well they played, just as in 1978—oh, I am not going to talk about 1978 as we go into the season with the highest pre-season expectations since then.
On the other hand, I cannot see how 100 wins is likely, given the division. Tampa Bay may slip to fourth, but even there remain a very good team with arms all over the place and a great manager who can make the most of them. It will be as brutal as ever in the East, but our manager is the best in the game and, well, he has the tools this time as never before.
Spring training means nothing, except, sometimes, individual performances. So, to my eyes, Beckett and Daisuke still have a lot to prove. Josh is pitching as I write this, but Houston is not a good team and they are all eager to just get this thing over with to start the season. I don’t hold much stock in Daisuke’s decent few innings on Sunday either, for the same reason. To me, it looked as if he was down to one dependable pitch, the fastball, and the other slop he puts up there looked okay mainly because he threw it so rarely. Pap, too, does not look good at all, but Dan Bard can step in if necessary. I have never been a big fan of Jencks. I am trying to change my mind, but so far, he has given no reason for me to do so. And, really, aside from history and all that, what is Wakefield doing on this team? Wouldn’t we rather have Atchison out there, or Aceves?
And, I dissent from the established view of the cognoscenti that Oakland will win in the west. Texas remains really good; even better now with Adrian Beltre essentially replacing Vlad in that lineup and bringing a inconceivably better glove to third base than Michael Young’s. Yes, yes, Cliff Lee. They only had Lee for half a season last year (not even that).
On the other hand, as great as it was to watch the Giants win last year, they have holes all over the place. I cannot see a repeat and, finances aside, the Dodgers are in a much stronger position, I think. The Pads are my team in the NL West nowadays but they need another year to get it together.
I can’t stand LaRussa for reasons I have mentioned many times. He does know what he is doing, though (and condones cheating, too). So that terrible NL Central could have them or Reds on top, with the other team the wild card.
Yes, Philly is real good. The Mets are terrible, but Florida and Washington are not even trying.