Off Base
2009 Predictions

April 4, 2009, 5:39 p.m. Give or take. There might be less. You do the math.

Anyway. Here are approximately 2009 things that will almost certainly happen in 2009. Probably:

A major star will test positive for performance enhancing drugs.

As usual, the World Series will be a better, truer, more spontaneous event than the Super Bowl, with actual crowd shots of real fans, but the commercials won’t be nearly as good.

Derek Jeter will appear on “Saturday Night Live" with Donald Trump.

Alex Rodriguez will get more attention for his off-field activities than for his on. Topics will include wives, girlfriends, Jose Canseco, psychotherapy, osteopenia, unexplainable photographs, night clubs, Kabbalah, and an aching desire to return to the Mariners.

A-Rod's numbers: .285, 25 homers and 65 RBIs in 100 games.

Larry Lucchino will become part owner of a team working on a new stadium deal.

Nomar Garciaparra returns to either the Red Sox or the Dodgers.

The Tampa Bay Rays will repeat as baseball's surprise team, but this time the surprise is a middle-of-the-pack performance, and a record in the neighborhood of .500.

Roy Halladay's American League numbers: 13-7, 3.40, with 100 Ks. Ray Halliday's National League numbers: 9-4, 2.85 and 75.

The American League East will finish this way: Red Sox, Yankees (Wild Card), Rays, Blue Jays, Orioles…

Spring Training stats will be forgotten in April. April stats will be forgotten by May.

Cliff Lee will draw comparisons to Steve Stone.

Baseball’s first manager to be fired will be Ozzie Guillen. Additional managers cut loose include Bud Black, John Russell, Dave Trembley, Ron Washington, and Don Wakamatsu. Bobby Cox will retire.

These players will miss large chunks of playing time: Garrett Anderson, Milton Bradley, A.J. Burnett, Eric Chavez, J.D. Drew, Nomar Garciaparra, Troy Glaus, Ken Griffey, Jr., Rich Harden, Mike Hampton, Jason Isringhausen, Chipper Jones, Hong-Chih Kuo, Pedro Martinez, Brad Penny, Scott Rolen, B.J. Ryan, Johan Santana, Gary Sheffield, and Kerry Wood.

Several prominent major leaguers will miss action, delayed by visa problems.

AL MVP: Justin Morneau.

AL Central: Twins, Indians, Tigers, White Sox, Royals…

Andruw Jones is a 50-50 bet to finish the season on a 25-man roster; a sure thing to end up in a city other than Arlington.

Matt Holliday dispels every last notion of his being a Coors Field player, ala Dante Bichette, and sets the American League on fire. He follows up by signing with a major market NL club, west of the Mississippi.

With Bobby Abreu replacing him as the Angels most productive player from April through October, Vladimir Guerrero will leave as a free agent. Abreu's numbers: .295, 20, 100, with an on base percentage of .400.

AL Cy Young Award winner: Joe Saunders.

AL West: Angels, Athletics, Rangers, Mariners.

Ryan Howard will become the first legitimate player to challenge Roger Maris’ 61 in ’61, twice.

A Gold Glove Award winner will lead his position in errors.

These men will play through an array of injuries and ailments, and appear in 155-plus games. Bobby Abreu, Adrian Beltre, Miguel Cabrera, Orlando Cabrera, Rafael Furcal, James Loney, Justin Morneau, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes, Jimmy Rollins, Grady Sizemore and Michael Young.

"Five-tool" player will regain its lofty position as the most overused phrase in baseball, leaving "we all have to be on the same page" in the dust. "Flu-like symptoms," "strained oblique," "anything can happen in a short series," “back in the day,” "intestinal fortitude,” “it is what it is,” “clubhouse cancer," "it’s only May" and "do the math" round out the top ten.

Countless players, play-by-play guys, and color commentators will refer to a just completed game using the word "tonight," even though it was a day game.

Southpaw Jamie Moyer will be referred to as “crafty” on a regular basis. No right-handers will be so-called even as much as once. Moyer will tire of the label, and retire.

Big bounce-back season for Jeff Francoeur, and the Braves start a new streak of consecutive division titles.

Bounce-back year for Carlos Delgado, in reverse.

Francisco Rodriguez will serve as an elixir for the Mets' recent bullpen woes, but in setting career highs in innings pitched, blown saves and ERA, will not lead his club to the postseason.

NL East: Braves, Phils (Wild Card), Mets, Marlins, Nationals…

World Series home field advantage is awarded to the American League for the final time, as Major League Baseball drops the All-Star Game brainchild and goes back to an every-other-year schedule. A proposal is floated to hand Series home field to the league prevailing in the Home Run Derby, but the vote falls just short.

NL MVP: Albert Pujols. While the batting average tumbles all the way to 340, Pujols ups his home run and RBI totals to 40 and 130 respectively. Manny Ramirez, a very close second.

Rick Ankiel will retire as an outfielder to concentrate on pitching.

Kosuke Fukudome will spend more time in Wrigley's right field than Milton Bradley, and the Cubs will not be happy about it.

Kerry Wood's career-year will be a tough act to follow for Kevin Gregg, and the Cubs will not be happy about it. Meanwhile, Wood will be injured in Cleveland.

Milwaukee's Brewers revert to form.

NL Central: Cards, Cubs, Astros, Reds, Brewers, Pirates.

Whenever and wherever the Arizona Diamondbacks sweep a series, newspapers in the losing club’s city will run the following headline: “Fill-in-the-blank Snakebit by Diamondbacks."

NL Cy Young Award: Dan Haren.

Adrian Gonzalez will be pitched to much more often that is appropriate, and he will find himself an MVP contender. Andre Dawson will be discussed.

In celebration of the 40-year anniversary of their existence, the San Diego Padres will challenge the franchise worst record of 52-110, set in their inaugural season of 1969.

A ballpark in China Basin will be renamed for a telecommunications company.

Unemployed in San Francisco, Brian Sabean will come calling for a job in Los Angeles, and not get one.

Federal charges against Barry Bonds will be dropped and no trial will take place. Bonds will immediately declare "I'm not retired." His 2009 numbers: .000 batting average, 0 homers, 0 RBIs, 0 convictions and 0 prison time.

The Dodgers are baseball's first team to clinch.

Following a campaign in which he played in 155 games, including 149 behind the plate, Russell Martin will luxuriate in his light schedule. Games played in 2009: 150; games caught, 142.

Manny Ramirez will take an almost unyielding degree of incoming from East Coast types (plus Ken Rosenthal of and no one in Los Angeles, including Manny, will care one bit.

Ramirez' statistics: .315, 35, and 120. Career grand slams number 21, 22, 23 and 24 make Manny the all-time leader in the category, passing the great Lou Gehrig.

Sandy Koufax finally gets his statue at Dodger Stadium.

NL West: Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Giants, Rockies, Padres.

Talkback: Your comments are always encouraged…

Remember, glove conquers all....








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