February 11, 2010

Looking inside my crystal ball

I’ve got a prediction. Between now and the start of the 2010 baseball season thousands, if not millions will make predictions on everything from who will win it all to how many times Lou Piniella will get ejected from a ball game.

This is what we Americans do. We love making predictions; it’s almost as if making predictions is a bigger pastime than baseball itself. Everyone loves to make them and everyone loves to say “I called it” when theirs comes true. Some people even manage to make a living out this; only they call it “projections.”

Our predictions aren’t limited to the final score or final standings; oh no, they happen continuously. How many times have you turned to someone and said, “so and so is going to… fill-in-the-blank… right here!”? (Yes, 514 Fanatic Dave, I’m thinking of you right now).

Do we make these statements in hopes of a pat on the back? Is it to bring us luck? Or is it just fun? I have no idea and it probably doesn't even matter.

The funny thing is no matter how many times we’re wrong and I’m guessing most of us are wrong a lot (except for my friend Dave); we keep doing it. I wonder what would happen if there was a limit to the number of predictions one could make in a given year.

Knowing me, I’d probably exceed that limit in the course of a single ball game. It starts early for me. Before every game my wife Cheryl and I predict who’s going to hit the first homerun for the Angels. Before you know it, I’m predicting sacrifice bunts, pinch hitters, the attendance, whether or not a play is going to end up on ESPN as a “web gem” or how many hot dogs one of the 514 Fanatic will eat in a given night.

Most of the time I would venture to guess that we have no rhyme or reason for our predictions (unless you’re using sabermetrics, of course). We just throw stuff against the wall and hope something will stick. See my free agent projections here, here and here for the perfect example of that. Oh and here too. Boy was that painful.

Clearly, anyone can make a prediction and maybe that’s the thing. Making predictions is an equal opportunity deal. Anyone can do it; you don’t even have to know much about the subject to make one. I have a couple of co-workers who are Dodger fans and they’re living proof of that. Now don’t get me wrong because I’m pretty sure not all Dodger fans are like them. I’m just saying.

Anyway the point of all of this chatter is basically to introduce you to the True Grich Predictions for the 2010 Baseball Season. Now before you roll your eyes, please note these aren’t the carefully planned predictions of say FanGraphs or something you’d expect to read on ESPN. No sir, this blog is better than that.

I predict that at least once a day, I’ll hear a Dodger fan label an Angel fan as a bandwagon fan. I also predict 75% of these fans will be wearing Manny Ramirez jerseys.

Speaking of jerseys, I predict I’ll see at least five Oakland A’s fans wearing Reggie Jackson jerseys with the #44 on their backs. It’s a sure thing that I’ll laugh every time I see that, knowing that Jackson actually wore #9 when he played for the A’s.

While I’m at it, I also predict I’ll make more than 5,000 snarky comments about the A’s over the course of a season; however, I may even be a little low on that one.

I predict the Red Sox and Yankees will be on ESPN more times than Brittney Spears will be on TMZ. Yes, that much! I predict non Red Sox and non Yankee fans will complain early and often about it too.

I predict Erick Aybar will lead the team in web gems and bloopers. I also predict yet another hairdo for the player formerly known as Vald’s mini-me.

Speaking of Vlad, I predict a standing ovation for Vladimir Guerrero when he returns to Anaheim and I predict he hits at least 30 homeruns, but I’ll hope that all of them are against the A’s, Yankees and Red Sox. I also predict Vlad will hit at least one homerun that would have been a wild pitch to any other batter.

I predict Chone Figgins will attempt to steal bases early and often whenever he faces Jeff Mathis or Mike Napoli. I also predict he’ll be left standing on second base at the end of a lot of innings while the PA systems blares “please, celebrate me home” by Kenny Loggins.

There’s a part of that song that goes “Please, celebrate me home. Give me a number. Please, celebrate me home. Play me one more song that I’ll always remember. That I can recall whenever I find myself too all alone (may I add on second base?). I can sing me home.” Sorry Figgy, it doesn’t work like that; someone has to drive you in.

I guess I’d better predict some boos for that analogy.

I predict a sportswriter (or two) somewhere will continue to bash Mark McGwire and then turn around and cheat on their taxes. I will also predict that we won’t see McGwire photo in the post office, but some will continue to label him as baseball’s public enemy #1.

I predict Ben Sheets will struggle early on; be traded to the Cardinals and have a banner year. It’s like the A’s are the Cardinals farm team some times. What? You have to remember I have a goal of 5,000 snarky A’s comments!

You know, I could do a whole blog on Mike Scioscia predictions (but don’t worry, I won’t). But, for the purposes of time and space, I’ll highlight just a few.

I predict Scioscia’s team will out perform their projections; he’ll get labeled as the best in the game almost as many times as a fan from another team will label him as being over-rated.

I predict we’ll never see Scioscia wearing a jersey and instead see him in an Angels' jacket even when it’s more than 100 degrees. What’s up with that?

You can count on the fact that I’ll disagree with something he does at least once a week and find out I was wrong just about every time. I hate it when that happens.

That being said, I might as well get this out of the way now and say that I predict I will moan and groan every time Scioscia platoons Brandon Wood; which ties into my prediction that if he gets a minimum of 400 AB’s, he will hit at least 20 homeruns.

I predict that nearly every time I hear someone say; “you heard it here, first” it really won’t be the first time.

I predict I’ll say “can you believe that?” at least 50 times, say “wow” 100 or more times and scream “that’s what I’m talking about” several dozen times.

I predict that I will hear at least one outlandish trade proposal on the post game radio show every single night. So let’s get this straight now; no, the Cardinals aren’t trading Albert Pujols to the Angels for Juan Rivera, the rally monkey and Gene Autry’s cowboy hat.

I predict many people (myself included) will have long memories when it comes to predicting things right and short memories when we’re wrong. Come to think of it, I’ve never been wrong. Just don’t ask my wife to verify that.

I predict the Angels will win the west even though most “experts” will pick the Mariners. I say the Twins will win the AL Central (and not receive the kind of credit the Oakland A’s receive as a small market club) and the Yankees will win the East. Look for the Rays to win the wild card and send the Red Sox to an early vacation.

I predict the Diamondbacks will win the NL West, the Phillies will be the team to beat in the east and Albert Pujols will have an MVP season as he leads the Cardinals to top of their division. I’ll also take the Florida Marlins as the surprise wild card team.

And just so we’re clear, I also predict that at some point before the season starts or shortly after it begins, I will change my mind! After all, spring training hasn’t even started yet.

I predict that I’ll see something I’ve never seen at a game before. Last year at spring training I saw my first ever triple play in person. I have no idea what I’ll see this year and to tell you the truth, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

When all is said and done the fun part about baseball is not knowing what’s going to happen. Sure, we like to predict what we think will happen, but the fun is in watching stories unfold before our very eyes. Stories like Kendry Morales having a break out season or Joe Saunders out dueling Zach Greinke 1-0 as both pitchers go the distance.

Seven days till pitchers and catchers report.

By the way... guess who's baaaaaack?

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Robb Quinlan signed a minor league deal with the Angels. He could end up as Kendry Morales' back up.

BallHype: hype it up!

1 comment:

  1. I predict that your prediction that the Angels will win the West will come true.

    Fun post!