With opening day of the 2009 Major League Baseball season just around the corner, it’s time for every credible sports journalist to lay their reputations on the line and give their predictions for how the year will play out. Well, despite lacking credibility (or accreditation for that matter), I’ve decided to give it a whirl too. And since most of the supposed “expert” predictions in the media turn out to be horribly wrong, I’ve decided to just shoot from the hip with the first thing that came to mind. So here it is, my completely inane list of 2009 MLB predictions.
Unwilling to accept an Atlanta team without John Smoltz on the roster, a deliriously sad Bobby Cox will force all of his bullpen pitchers to wear strap-on beards that he personally fashioned after breaking into Smoltz’s home and combing the rugs for samples.
Forget 2009, all the Marlins players care about is that they will finally have their own home when the new stadium opens in 2012. Of course, now they all have to be sure not to do anything to up their trade value lest they be gone long before then. Also, they have to remember upon its arrival to enjoy it to the fullest before the Marlins inevitably trade the stadium for five smaller, but very promising parks in 2014.
New York Mets
The Mets will break the trend of September collapses they have suffered over the last two years and make the inaugural season at Citi Field truly one to remember, as they will epically collapse by late July and turn to a mid-season trade to re-aquire Aaron Heilman in a desperate attempt to right the ship.
After winning the ’08 World Series, expectations of the notoriously raucous Philly fan base will be higher than ever. Legitimate panic amongst the players will set in around mid-August when a 3 game losing streak prompts the public execution of the Phillie Phanatic.
Lastings Milledge’s team leading numbers in home runs and RBI’s will drop significantly after the new rap single he and his often embattled teammate release entitled “Put up yo’ Elijah Dukes” goes triple platinum, sweeps the Grammys, and proves to just be too much of a distraction.
A promising start to the season for the Cubbies will take an ugly turn when the newly acquired and ill-tempered right fielder Milton Bradley strikes out, snaps his bat in half and throws it toward the dugout, severing the right hand of Rich Harden and ending his career.
Young star Joey Votto’s season will get off to a late start when he is held by federal authorities under suspicion of involvement in several mob related murders. He will be released in mid-April and issued a formal apology when authorities realize he is Joey Votto the Canadian-born, Reds first baseman, and not in fact, Joey “The Clown” Votto of the notorious Cincinnati crime syndicate.
Things will get a bit awkward in the locker room between ace Roy Oswalt and his teammates Miguel Tejada and Pudge Rodriguez when Oswalt walks in on the two drawing a giant caricature of him, which is sporting a diaper and crying: “Wahhhh, performance enhancers taint the integrity of the gaaaame!”
Tragedy will strike the Brewers organization when after a wild night out on the town, the bodies of first baseman Prince Fielder and beloved mascot Bernie Brewer are discovered bloated and limp in the team locker room, killed by choking on a bear claw and alcohol poisoning respectively.
Nate McLouth, who led the Pirates in every major offensive category in 2008, will continue to be the only bright spot on the roster in ’09 and live like a king in Pittsburgh. And by live like a king, we obviously mean have his pick of the ladies (that is once the field is pared down by the Steelers and Penguins… and if those who are left are willing to take his word that Pittsburgh does in fact have a baseball team and that he is an All Star).
St. Louis Cardinals
After a successfully dry off-season trying to keep out of trouble with the law, long time manager Tony LaRussa will be fired after falling off the wagon in late September and insisting that Albert Pujols hit out of the 9 spot and Rick Ankiel switch back to starting pitcher where “the baseball gods meant for him to play.”
Freshly recovered from his hamstring injuries of 2008, Eric Byrnes’ return will be cut short when he suffers a minor brain aneurysm in an intense pre-game Frutista Freeze chugging contest with manager Bob Melvin on opening day.
Slugging first baseman Todd Helton’s offensive numbers will hit devastating career lows in his 12th season thanks in part to the loss of his teammate Matt Holliday in the lineup, as well as the public revelation that his middle name is Lynn.
Los Angeles Dodgers
After rigorous off-season efforts to re-sign the hard hitting and enigmatic outfielder, the Dodgers worst fears will be realized when Manny Ramirez begins completely dogging it around June, in hopes of being released and allowed to follow the dream he has had since he was a just a little boy growing up in the Bronx… playing cricket.
San Diego Padres
Following the unceremonious release of closer Trevor Hoffman, and facing a likely departure of Jake Peavy, the Pads look like they’re in for a rough season. But just when things look like they couldn’t be worse, the team will be lifted when they remember at least their spirits aren’t as low as the sales numbers for these sweet jerseys.
San Francisco Giants
A paranoid and delusional Randy Johnson will have a shaky year at best, thanks to a severe mental lapse that his him sure that creepy virtual Tim Lincecum from the MLB 2k9 commercial is out to take his spot in the starting rotation.
After enduring yet another disappointing 90 loss season in 2009, manager Dave Trembley will learn the hard way that there is simply no room in the majors for a team with a clean-up hitter named Aubrey.
Boston Red Sox
Red Sox broadcasts will be noticeably less entertaining when commentators are forced to spend their first full season going from “Manny being Manny” to “Jason Bay being boring and Canadian.”
New York Yankees
After a wild offseason full of major spending and steroid scandals, Yankee headlines will be surprisingly dominated by newcomer Nick Swisher, whose carefree attitude and rock and roll music will teach the Bombers that winning isn’t everything, and help them learn to enjoy the game again… Hank Steinbrenner will subsequently have him murdered.
Tampa Bay Rays
After dealing with a slow April start, manager Joe Maddon will be forced to explain why they sent star pitcher David Price down to the minors after he enjoyed a 1.08 ERA in spring training. Revealing a bit of his softer side, Maddon will admit he has a somewhat of a father-son relationship with Price, and that he didn’t yet feel comfortable exposing the youngster to Grant Balfour’s expletive ridden mound tirades.
Toronto Blue Jays
Spirits among the Blue Jays players will hit an all time low in 2009, when an investigation by Yahoo Sports reveals that the city of Toronto, which has long been pushing for an NFL franchise, is actually trading them for the Buffalo Bills.
Chicago White Sox
Upon finding themselves with a surprising division lead come September, outspoken manager Ozzie Guillen will come under fire for his comments on his starting rotation: “They really have given it their all this year, and I couldn’t ask for more. I mean, I think I came up in the same draft as (Jose) Contreras and (Bartolo) Colon. But Jesus, those wrinkly old f*ckers can throw!”
Controversy will hit the Indians locker room when notorious Major League groupie Alyssa Milano begins dating last year’s Cy Young winner Cliff Lee. Upon learning this, new Indians acquisition Carl Pavano will land in hot water after making publicly disparaging remarks saying that “Cliff is more than welcome to my sloppy sevenths.”
After being cut by the Tigers late in spring training, Gary Sheffield will insist that Jim Leyland (not unlike his other former manager Joe Torre) hates black people. In a later interview Jim Leyland will clear things up: “My decision to cut Gary was in no way racially motivated. I do however, hate loudmouth, injury-prone, douchebags who hit .225. So… there’s always the possibility it was that.”
Kansas City Royals
First year manager Trey Hillman says he is very excited about the Royals’ strong arms on the mound this year, like Mark Redman, Sidney Ponson and Kyle Farnsworth. “With hurlers like that,” Hillman said, “we should have no problem keeping up with the proud Kansas City baseball tradition in 2009.” He then closed his door to the media, and could be heard softly weeping for several hours.
Twins fans’ high hopes for phenom pitcher Francisco Liriano, now two and a half years removed from Tommy John surgery, will once again be dashed when it is revealed that the doctors actually repaired the wrong arm, and he is lost for the season when his left arm is blown out once again. On the upside though, upon his return in 2011 the Twins may very well find themselves armed with the league’s only switch-pitcher.
Los Angeles Angels of the greater Anaheim metro-area
Trying to avoid a drop off in primal intensity after losing fiery closer Francisco Rodriguez, manager Mike Scioscia will face vocal cord surgery at the end of the year thanks to screaming like a coked up banshee each time a bullpen pitcher strikes a batter out.
In a resurgent 2009, the A’s will make their return to post-season play thanks to the acquisitions of Matt Holliday (a young Jason Giambi-like hitter) and Jason Giambi (an old Jason Giambi-looking gentleman with a mythological gold thong).
Enthusiasm for the return of Seattle’s favorite son Ken Griffey, Jr. will plunge severely when a nagging hamstring has the slugger coming out for mid- June batting practice with his trademark backwards hat and riding a Rascal.
In an attempt to recover from the hit their image took thanks to the A-Rod steroid scandal, the Rangers will elect to have former President George W. Bush throw out the first pitch on opening day. Because as plain as day, everyone knows the best way to get America back on your side is to align yourself with George W. Bush. Goooooooooo Rangers!