Friday, April 07, 2006

Professor's Pastime Prognostications

Baseball season has begun once again. I don’t remember when I first fell in love with America’s Pastime. Maybe it was when I was still in my single digits and Mike Schmidt was hitting long balls and Lefty was winding down his Phillies Career. I specifically remember going to a game when I was a kid and Von Hayes hit two Home Runs in one inning, playing alongside the likes of Juan Samuel and Dickie Thon. I must admit, the teams that I adored were not very successful, but to traipse down to the Vet on a Sunday afternoon to enjoy a ballgame and get the free piece of crap they were giving away was a time that I will always wish to have again.

My favorite memory came during the magical season of 1993. I went to 49 games that year and I wasn’t season ticket holder. There are so many moments to reminisce upon; one in particular will always define that season for me. It was a fireworks spectacular (that happened to be on July 2nd). You know the kind where they let the fans onto the field to watch a fireworks show after the game. My uncle and two brothers left for an afternoon twi-night doubleheader against the Padres at about 3 in the afternoon. Little did I know then, it would be one of the longest nights of my life.

The first game was slated to begin a little after 4:30pm. I didn’t live too far from the Vet, so we arrived with plenty of time to spare. The clouds overhead were looming, but if the forecast was right, that would be all. It started raining during the first game and the fireworks were in jeopardy. Overall, the first game sucked and through many rain delays, the phitins lost 5-2.

By this time it was about 12:30 my brothers were not interested in anything but leaving and going to bed. We knew the fireworks were not going to happen, at least not the fireworks you are thinking of. Veteran’s Stadium was filled with magic that year and this was only a continuation of that aura.

The umps decided to play the second game. It was scheduled TO BEGIN at 1:00am. Fans exited the stadium in droves, but not I. My uncle took the brats home, but vowed to return. I ushered down to the expensive seats that were at this point occupied by drunks and crazies that only Philly faithful would truly begin to understand.

The second game started out like the first, the crime dog driving in some runs for the Padres and the Phillies taking an early deficit. However, much like the rest of the year of 1993, the Phils found a way to persevere.

Around this time it late or early morning, depending on your perspective. We all seemed to be caught in a sort of limbo between reality and fantasy. Those that were not drunk felt that way from sleep depravation. It was nearing 4am and the team looked to be finished. The ninth inning was here and just at about the time that my uncle found his way back to me, the Phillies had begun a rally. They tied it up 5-5 in the ninth on a wild pitch with the bases loaded and the pitcher Tommy (T to) Green marched in with the game tying run to (OH GOD) send it into extra innings.

In between innings, you could see the Phillie Phanatic by looking up to the 700 level near the top of the Vet and see him line dancing just below the Jumbotron with what remaining stadium employees were left. At the beginning of the bottom of the ninth, the maybe thousand fans that were left had all placed our caps in our rally style, be it sideways or inside out or both to encourage our heroes of night.

The Padres brought in lights out Trevor Hoffman in the tenth to continue this game into the day as we were approaching 12 hours. The crowd cheered louder than a full house when The Wild Thing came in as a pinch hitter with a man on base. As the clock struck 4:41am, a mere 12 hours and 5 minutes after the first game had begun; Mitch Williams slammed a double in the gap off of Trevor Hoffman to end one of the greatest baseball marathons that I will ever see. I got home at about 6 am and the sun was coming up when I reached my door. I felt like someone had thrown me against the wall and it felt great.

Baseball 2006

Fast forward to the current season and we are at the time where everybody has promise and are poised to make the run with so many questions and the answers only to come in the next 6 months. Will the Yankees be able to buy a series? Will the Braves continue there annual dominance of the NL East? Does everyone realize that they have not lost the division ever since they joined in 1994? Will the young players mature or fizzle out like cheap snake fireworks on Independence Day? Will Chicago be able to repeat? Will the steroids debacle continue to tarnish the game we love?

My calls for the season ahead are as follows:

The Braves will win another division and be about as boring as can be. I hate them.
The Cardinals will be the Braves of this decade, so much talent and so many wins, but so few championships will be won.
Barry Bonds will move past the Babe and approach Hank, but succumb to injury and will never play again.
I had a prediction in here about J-Roll and his hit streak, but you all know how that turned out, so never mind. No one will know what I predicted. HA
Home Runs will drop down to what we all remember in the ‘80’s where 40 was a lot and 50 was a rarity.
Steroids will continue to take some from the game, but as implied in my statement above will start to fade, at least I hope.
The National League will finally win an All Star game. Ok, no they won’t
The American League will win the World Series again. They just have too many teams that can beat the National League.
The Phillies will make the playoffs as a Wild Card. And then I woke up. (boo-hoo)
There will be many players that come back from injury this year, like Scott Rolen, Jim Thome, Curt Schilling, and Roy Hallady.
Brett Favre will be at a Milwaukee Brewers game pondering his future and wondering why the hell he went to a Brewer’s game.
Bud Selig will contemplate retiring and wish that he had the respect and admiration of his NFL counterpart Paul Tagliabue. (Does anyone else think that Bud looks like Martin Landau from Ed Wood?)
Barry Zito will once again show that he can fool fans into thinking he is a good pitcher only to prove to them that he is awful.
The New York Mets have added more punch to their lineup, but won’t win because they don’t add any leaders.
Barry Bonds might get intentionally walked every single AB until the rest of the team learns how to hit a baseball.
The Texas Rangers will look into installing a mechanical fence to their outfield that can be moved out when the opponent is batting and moved back in when they are batting. 2006 Team Era: 5.50
I have decided that a team with a predominantly hitter’s park will never win a damn thing in this league.
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim is stupid. It just is.
Clint Barmes will break his coccyx after carrying a bull carcass up a flight of stairs and then getting a swift kick in the ass from his manager.
The World Baseball Classic is a stupid event and should be erased from our memories.
George Stienbrenner will build a giant safe on top of a hill and transfer all of his money into gold coins and then swim around in it.
Mark Teixeira will get close to winning the triple crown.
Derek Lee will come back to earth. Upon his return, he will state, “The Earth is really blue and round from space. I didn’t know that.”
Albert Pujols will sign a lucrative endorsement deal with mighty mint toilet cleaner and coin the slogan, From the Poo-holes to the blue holes with a fresh scent every time.

The Winners…

Atlanta Braves
St. Louis Cardinals
San Diego Padres
WC Houston Astros

New York Yankees
Chicago White Sox
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (again stupid name)
WC Seattle Mariners

World Series
Yankees over Cardinals in 5

NL MVP – Pujols
AL MVP – Teixeira
NL Cy Young – Jake Peavy
AL Cy Young – Roy Halladay

That’s how the Professor sees it and I hope that you all enjoy a new summer of fun. For you fantasy players out there, whether you play in a H2H or Roto style league, remember to always go with your gut and don’t look back.

1 comment:

MickeyG said...

I agree with your predictions. Stupid Yankees will win again and this will finally be Halladays year. But i don't see Texiara winning the AL MVP.