Saturday, March 31, 2007

My baseball picks: 2007

Baseball is back!

Thank God. There’s only so much Arena Football a man can stand. During this busy offseason owners spent ridiculous amounts of money on bums (it’s as if Paramount gave Brian Ben-ben a four picture deal for $178,000,000) and pissed off 200,000 viewers by taking away the In Demand TV package just because there was more profit in it. (If you’d like to run the Yankees, by the way, my son Matt reminds me that Steinbrenner’s daughter is again single.)

But now it’s time to focus on what’s between the white lines and all the other glorious baseball clich├ęs. And so, as Barry Bonds strives to break Henry Aaron’s all-time home run record with fans everywhere hoping he breaks his leg instead falling out of his baralounger, here are my picks for the upcoming season.

I have two in each division – the one who should win and the dark horse. There is such parity these days (i.e. every team has gaping holes) that any team other than Kansas City could sneak in. Even Tampa Bay has improved pitching and should put up a lot of runs. But I’m not picking them. I’m not insane.

National League West:

DODGERS – Best pitching. Should hit six home runs the entire season but they made the playoffs last year with Odalis Perez so they can only be better.

Dark Horse: PADRES – Good young players and David Wells & Greg Maddux (who can also play in the team’s Old Timer’s Game).

National League Central:

CARDINALS – They could win 72 games and somehow they’d still win the division.

Dark Horse: BREWERS – come on, ONE of these years they’ve got to win again. They also now have Jeff Suppan but I’m still going with the law of averages thing.

National League East:

METS -- Stars at nearly every position and Pedro will be back for three starts in September.

Dark Horse FLORIDA – It’s sure not the Phillies who signed rag arm, Adam Eaton (54-45 and injured most of the time) to a three year $24,000,000 contract.

MVP: Albert Pujols (I know, I’m really going out on a limb.)

American League West:

ANGELS – If Colon and Vlad-daddy are healthy, see ya in October.

Dark Horse: SEATTLE – Okay, I just love my Mariners.

American League Central:

DETROIT – Even without Kenny Rogers, the best rotation in the division and Carlos Guillan. Tiger fans must hope that team-cancer, Gary Sheffield doesn’t cause club to implode.

Dark Horse: INDIANS – Very talented and much improved. Perhaps a return to the glory minutes of the 90’s.

American League East:

RED SOX – Great rotation and Papelbon returning to closer role. Their big problem: filling those 120 games J.D. Drew misses due to scraped knee.

Dark Horse: BLUE JAYS – Despite that stupid team name. Getting better every year. No one in America knows because no one in America cares.

MVP: David Ortiz (finally!)

And if you don’t think I’m a master at baseball predictions, just look at my dark horse picks last year. I’m dangerous!

NLW – Giants
NLC -- Astros
NLE -- Phillies

ALW – Rangers
ALC – Indians
ALE – Blue Jays.



Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Making a case for my team:

The Cincinnati Reds.

They could sneak in there and win the division.

A couple or three more solid arms in the starting rotation might be nice. Or, just getting some good luck out of shaky arms would be fine.

Josh Hamilton has had a monster spring, giving the Reds yet another opening day with one too many outfielders. Josh could be a great story this year if he keeps it up, and I'm sure he'll stay clean. Someone just has to keep him away from the Bengals.

Beyond that, they have a shot because at least one top expert predicts it'll only take 72 wins to take the Central Division...which might be generous.

Happy Baseball Season...

Bill said...

The NL Central really is up for grabs. If Clemens goes to Houston, they could win it. The Cubs will have a much improved offense, and if somehow Wood/Prior heal up and return to form, they're a serious contender... but even not, they may have enough to sneak into first if a few breaks go their way. Not sure I see the Pirates or (sorry captain) Reds making it, but otherwise it's anybody's to win.

Also, I hadn't even planned on getting the extra innings package this year, but that whole thing still ticks me off.

Anonymous said...

Ken, I was hoping you would show your loyalty to your former team and give the dark horse nod to the Mariners. And there it's not just for sentiment's sake. Vidro and Guillen will be solid bats, Beltre is showing signs of his NL self, and the new rotation was solid this spring.

I still miss your witty, literate commentary on KIRO Newsradio. You kept me laughing even as you had know half the literary references flew right over the heads of half your listeners. But even they could tell you were having fun, and joined in.

Jeff said...

Just wanted to chime in to second Frank's comment. Dave Niehaus is a legend, but you made it worth tuning in to the radio broadcasts during an otherwise inglorious Mariner season back in the 1990s.

I doubt you would remember this, but back when I was in college a friend of mine and I decided to make a banner and take it to an M's game. This was back in the Kingdome days and it wasn't unusual for fans to make signs and hang them in various parts of the concrete monstrosity declaring their allegiance to a Mariners player. Like the "Boneyard" for Jay "Bone" Buhner during the Levine era, or "Perry's Perch" back in the old days when Gaylord Perry finished out his career in Seattle. But more often for some less-illustrious major league talent like backup catcher Bill Hasleman (the "Haslemania" banner was a longtime fixture at M's games, even after he went on to Boston and Texas and came back as a visiting player).

My friend and I sat in the first row of the 200 level in dead center field (without about 9 other people) and unfurled our banner as the game was about to begin. It read: LEVINE'S LAWFT.

We tuned into the radio broadcast wondering if you would notice. You were working the radio side by yourself for the first half of the game while Dave was on TV. No dice for the first couple of batters. Then we saw (through binoculars, because we were about as far away from the radio booth as you could get without being outside the dome on the Burlington Northern train tracks) producer/engineer Kevin Cremin nudge you and point out toward center field. You saw the banner and did a double take. A pitch or two went by with dead air on the radio. Then you caught up with the play-by-play as the M's got the opponent out and went to a commercial break.

In the bottom of the first you mentioned the sign and started joking about your anemic fan club and that these were the best seats that we could get. You started to chastise us about misspelling "LOFT" until Kevin pointed out (correctly) that LEVINE'S LAWFT was a play on words on "Levine's Law," your oft-quoted maxim that "the lead-off walk always comes around to score—except when it doesn't."

When you moved over to the TV side in the bottom of the fifth you mentioned Levine's Lawft again; I think I even have a videotape in a closet somewhere with the game in question, where you can see a fleeting glimpse of our banner.

Not long after that, you left the Seattle broadcast team and went on to work for the Padres and Dodgers. Even though the M's finally started winning and making the playoffs, I still miss your hilarious contributions to the radio broadcasts!

Anonymous said...

Jeff, that's right, Levine's Law! That was a classic. I can still hear Ken's cadence as he repeated those words every so often... "the lead-off walk always comes around to score—except when it doesn't."
Those were great broadcasts. Come back Ken!

joshjs said...

You won't regret picking the Brewers as your dark horse, sir. I promise.

Anonymous said...

It's April 1st -- which means the Cubs are now mathmatically eliminated from the playoffs.

Rays profile said...

The key to the NL Central is the Suppan deal - he had about a 12-2 record against Milwaukee over the past few years. It probably won't hurt the Cardinals that much, but it should help the Brewers avoid a few losses.

VP81955 said...

There is such parity these days (i.e. every team has gaping holes) that any team other than Kansas City could sneak in.

I'm a Washington fan, but I'm wondering just how the Nats could "sneak in." A revival of Joe Hardy, to bat between Ryan Zimmerman and Austin Kearns? A magic spell from a kindly witch in Silver Spring brings back Walter Johnson, circa 1913?

Frankly, I'll be happy just to avoid 100 losses, as management retools the organization (MLB's onwership had essentially reduced it to an expansion franchise) and prepares for the new park on South Capitol Street in 2008.

Anonymous said...

Why do americans call the winner of baseball finals the world champions? When in reality it is only an american championship of a sport that is is played by and for a minority. You should pay attention to football, or as you call it Soccer, wich is the truly global sport and by far the number one sport in the planet.

The Minstrel Boy said...

wait'll next year!

(currently using d-backs tix as bookmarkers)

Mary Stella said...

I have only one thing to say about your baseball picks. Go Phillies!! Our starting lineup could consist of 8 one-armed amputees and Ryan Howard and I would still pick my team to go all the way. Call me loyal, call me delusional. Both possibly fit.

How obscure a reference is Brian BenBen? Why do I remember that he played in that gangster series with Joe Penny and Michael Nouri but can't think of any other show? Oh wait. I remember Dream On but that taps my Brian BenBen knowledge. Hopefully he'll never be a Jeopardy category.

Mike Barer said...

Now that the Tigers have gone to the series, we will see if the Pirates, Orioles, and Cubs can get winning ways.

Webs said...


I was pretty good last year. I'll post this year's picks within the hour.

Diane said...

Colon getting healthy is a BIG if . . .

Anonymous said...

I'll second your picks, especially the Angels. I'm skeptical that Colon will be healthy, but I don't think it matters as far as winning their division. If Colon and Anderson are healthy I think they have as good a chance as any team to win it all.

I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the Mariners because I was born in Seattle and my father still desperately hopes for the day when they win it all. (Although I'm not sure why, because it's not like he grew up with them, or even the Pilots for that matter.)

The one thing that kind of soured me on the Mariners is that the ownership never went out and got that one guy who really could have made the difference in 2000-2002. (Mainly a front line starting pitcher) I think they took their opportunity for granted and now it's going to take a while to get back. The Mariners are pretty solid but I don't think they have the pitching to win the division.

On paper the Red Sox look very good, but of course they have to contend with the Yankees all year so it will be interesting to see who wins that division.

May the best team win, and if not them then the Mariners.

By the way you may already know about this site but I find it to be the best baseball reference on player salaries on the internets...

Hardball Dollars

Anonymous said...


That is all.

Anonymous said...

Bedard. Cabrera. Loewen.

The O's will shock the world this baseball season.

Anonymous said...

Colon getting healthy is a BIG if . . .

He gets plenty of fiber

Unknown said...

Thanks for the love for the Mariners Ken. Even after 3 years of crappy baseball and some truly head scratching offseason trades, you still threw them a bone.

I was in college when you were broadcasting for the Mariners, and I thought you were hilarious. I still bring up Levine's Law on occasion. And as a Mariner employee, I did go to the head of human resources a couple months ago and gave my best pitch to bring you back to replace the mind numbing Ron Fairly, but it turns out I'm not very influential. Maybe next year. I can always dream.

Stephen Green said...

Why do people never learn. It doesn't matter that Barry Zito left and was replaced by, um, nobody. It doesn't matter that Mike Piazza is supposed to fill the Big Hurt's role from last year, that Milton Bradley has to not implode or explode. Somehow, the A's will win the division. It doesn't have to make any sense.

Scott said...

Hello? Cy Young? MVP? Last year's division winner? No love for the Twins from anyone this year. Sure the rotation as a whole has holes (but so does just about every other rotation).

Febrifuge said...

Thank you, Scott, for saying that before I did. I was ready to let loose with some vituperations about the wrongheadedness of overlooking the Twins. Ours is one of the few teams that made smart acquisitions in the offseason -AND- kept all its best talent from last year.

Now, rather than looking like a dolt who didn't didn't read all the comments, I can just pile on. The bullpen is looking promising, and I predict at least one more breakout star; maybe someone will make a big enough splash that Joe Mauer will be able to trim his sideburns if he wants.

By Ken Levine said...

I do like the Twins, just think that Detroit and Cleveland have the edge.

But I was very saddened to learn of the passing of longtime Twins announcer, Herb Carneal. He was a true gentleman, and certainly nice to me when I was a young rookie in the league in '91.

Anonymous said...

I also second the comments about missing you in the Mariners booth. I recall one game, where I was waiting for the game to start, and you and Dave Niehaus were chatting about nick names for players. He asked you for the nick name for Ken Griffey and you said without a pause the arsonist! Right after he set part of you on fire I guess in a club house prank. I turned around and just watched ol' Dave speechless, rolling in laughter! I'll remember that night forever. Still smile.