Thursday, February 28, 2008

Spring Beginnings

It has finally arrived. That glorious day that reminds us once again what it's like to be an American. Spring Training is upon us, and not just the pitchers and catchers reporting kind I spoke of 2 weeks ago, I'm talking play by play on the way back to work from my lunch break. And if there is any shock on your part, you are new here, but Baseball is back, in the immortal words of Bill McNeal a.k.a the late Phil Hartman, "The crack of the bat... the roar of the crowd... join us and the boys of summer for all of the baseball opening day action." And here it is. Granted who cares past the 4th inning other than those in the perfect conditions in AZ and FLA at the game, but that doesn't really matter. I get to hear Mark Grace telling stories not fit for most audiences (if you don't know what I'm talking about google Mark Grace and either "Jim Rome" "Slump Buster" "Dan Patrick" "Greg Maddux" or "Woody" and no he wasn't talking about Kerry. A brand new year, clean slates, and a great outlook for most baseball fans, unless of course you're a pirates fan.

If you are somewhere in the Southwest or Southeast, I would suggest finding a group of friends and head to a Spring Training game one weekend soon. It's a great environment, and the areas (bars) near the parks are alive and ready for action. It's a magical time of the year. Plus the weather doesn't get any better than it is right now. Go to and look up Tucson, Mesa, or Scottsdale, and tell me you don't envy us right now. This might not be on the same scale of the Super Bowl or Final Four, but sometime in your life, do yourself a favor and make a spring pilgrimmage, it's so worth it.

With that the Finale to our Baseball Pre-season breakdown, since the Pre-season has started. If you have read our past columns, and I dont' feel like linking them right now, you know our Division winners and all of the analysis that went into it. For the brief version here it is:

NL West: D-Backs
NL Central: Cubs
NL East: Mets
NL Wild Card: Phillies
AL West: Angels
AL Central: Tigers
AL East: BoSox
AL WildCard: Indians

NLDS: Cubs over Mets, Dbacks over Phils
ALDS: Tigers over Boston, Tribe over Halos
NLCS: Cubs over DBacks
ALCS: Tribe over Tigers

World Series: The AL is the better division. In a fair match-up I would always go with the NL team because the AL has to play NL ball for a few games which is more difficult strategically and lends itself to a slight NL advantage. But in this case, the game is seriously divided to the AL's advantage and the Tribe should wipe the floor with the Cubs in 5 games. Sweet Lou's troops might push it to 6, but this series won't go 7 and the Cure of Rocky Calavito will soon be over. Rejoice in Cleveland, you guys have earned it. A town that hasn't won a professtional title in God knows how long, and has had to watch Ohio State lose 2 football championships and a basketball championship. They finally get their W. And the world will collapse on itself once the final pitch is thrown. Right in the middle of Wrigley Field at HDNet Stadium on the North Side of Chicago.