|Arizona Diamondbacks||Arizona Diamondbacks|
|San Fransisco Giants*||San Fransisco Giants|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||San Diego Padres|
|Colorado Rockies||Los Angeles Dodgers|
|San Diego Padres||Colorado Rockies|
Well, I didn't do too bad here. I succesfully predicted the D-Backs' repeat, but the bottom of the division gets a bit muddled after that. In my defense, let me say this: 1. Jim Tracy is a great manager. I have no idea how the Dodgers did as well as they did this season, especially considering the lineup they have. 2. The Padres have a lot of good young talent. It's just that this season it didn't pan out like I thought it was going to.
|St. Louis Cardinals||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Houston Astros||Houston Astros|
|Cincinnatti Reds||Chicago Cubs|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Cincinnatti Reds|
|Chicago Cubs||Milwaukee Brewers|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Pittsburgh Pirates|
The NL Central continues to be the division that does not make sense. The Cardinals lose every starting pitcher on their staff for at least part of the season, the Astros lose Julio Lugo, their starting pitching gets better... Cardinals still win the Central. The Cubs add Moises Alou, Alex Gonzalez, Matt Clement, Mark Prior and Antonio Alfonseca and get worse. The Reds lose Ken Griffey Jr. (again) and get better. The Pirates get better thanks to good pitching. But at this point I would like to point out that the Pirates hvae Kevin Young Jelly playing first base, which does not make sense. The Brewers. Well, they are the only team that makes sense.
|Atlanta Braves||New York Mets|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Atlanta Braves*|
|Montreal Expos||Florida Marlins|
|Florida Marlins||Philadelphia Phillies|
|New York Mets||Montreal Expos|
This is probably my worst division this year, but with good reason: On paper, you can't pitch around that Met lineup. Let me tell you, they are a great video game team. Who would have thought that the Mets would have finished in last place? Last! Certainly not I, or a bunch of the real sportswriters who also picked the Mets to dethrone the Braves. I was right about the Phillies being lackluster (despite their second place finish, they were under .500). Frank Robinson has said that he won't manage after this season. I hope he reconsiders because he has turned the Expos around by teaching them to be patient. They are now a .500 club on their way up. Better yet, let's get Frank Robinson to come to Chicago and manage the Cubs. They could use some pitch-taking practice.
|Oakland Athletics||Seattle Mariners|
|Anaheim Angels*||Oakland Athletics*|
|Seattle Mariners||Anaheim Angels|
|Texas Rangers||Texas Rangers|
The AL West was the "Who Knew" division this season. Who knew the Angels were going to be so damn good? Who knew the A's were going to win 20 games in a row? Who knew the Mariners, who won 116 games last season, would have a pitching staff that exploded toward the end of the season? Who knew that the Rangers were still going to suck despite having a house lineup and the best shortstop ever? Oh, right, I knew that. But everything else was a shock. Frankly, though, I'm not surprised the A's won the West. They are a great team, a fantastically run organization and they won 100 games last season. If the Manager of the Year award in the AL goes to anyone but Art Howe or Mike Soscia this season, the baseball writers need to have their heads examined. Moreso than before.
|Minnesota Twins||Chicago White Sox|
|Chicago White Sox||Minnesota Twins|
|Cleveland Indians||Cleveland Indians|
|Kansas City Royals||Detroit Tigers|
|Detroit Tigers||Kansas City Royals|
The NL East and the AL Central should have a special postseason of their own, to find out which division sucks more. They could call it a "suck-off." Wait, no, that sounds dirtier than it should have.
Let's face it, the White Sox were a big disappointment this season. They were picked by many sportswriters to come back and repeat their 2000 glory, but they got off to a slow start (like last season) and ended up falling flat. At least last season they won 84 games. This season..... As for the Twins, I have to say that I have my homer hanky out for them this October. As they say, you couldn't write a better script. Threatened for contraction, and now they are the Central Division champions. To make matters worse for their future AL opponents, the Twins had to postpone September callups... because their AAA affiliate was in the postseason, too. I hope for the Twins' sake they can get a new ballpark or some other sort of "we're here to stay past 2006" statement, because it looks like they are going to be good for a long time.
|New York Yankees||New York Yankees|
|Boston Red Sox||Boston Red Sox|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Toronto Blue Jays|
|Baltimore Orioles||Baltimore Orioles|
|Tampa Bay Devil Rays||Tampa Bay Devil Rays|
The AL East is so easy. Over the last 5 seasons, you know the Yankees are going to win, the Red Sox are going to be good but not good enough, the Blue Jays are going to be bad to .500, and that the O's and the D-Rays are going to be bad.
Ohhhh, what to do about my beloved Red Sox, though? They missed the playoffs for the third straight season despite having Nomar and Pedro back for most of the season. One sportswriter has suggested trading Nomar and/or Pedro to get farm prospects and reloading for a possible postseason run in 3 to 5 years. An intriguing proposition, especially when you consider that both Pedro and Nomar's contracts are up after 2004. Nomar is tradeable, although I have my skepticisms about Martinez, mostly because he is my favorite player in baseball and would hate to see him go anywhere other than the Cubs. On top of that, Pedro has the talent to be the player you build your franchise around. Some have argued that Derek Lowe does, too, but I'm not so sure. He has had one great season. That doesn't mean he's going to have one great career. What if the Red Sox did clean house (save Pedro, if you want to build your franchise around him, and Manny because nobody (not even the Yankees, now that there is a luxury tax) is going to pick up that $20 million per year contract)? Think about the prospects they could get for dealing these players: Nomar Garciaparra, Derek Lowe, Johnny Damon, Trot Nixon, Shea Hillenbrand, Jason Varitek, John Burkett, Ugeth Urbina, Rich Garces, Alan Embree... It's a Red Sox fire sale! Everything must go! It's something they should at least consider if they want to be a contending ballclub in the next three to five years. Right now the Red Sox feel like a building built out of duct tape and plywood. Sure, it'll stay up for a while, but how long? The Yankees, on the other hand, are built like a brick shithouse. The Sox need to get some brick into their building if they want to win.
Jason Giambi, 1B, Yankees
Or maybe: Alex Rodriguez, SS, Rangers. Manny Ramirez, LF/DH, Red Sox.
Miguel Tejada, SS, A's
- You should note that A-Rod is in the "maybe" pile. You should also note that A-Rod should have won the MVP this season.
Pedro Martinez, RHP, Red Sox
Or maybe: Mike Mussina, RHP, Yankees. Freddy Garcia, RHP, Mariners. Mark Mulder/Barry Zito/Tim Hudson, A's.
Barry Zito, LHP, A's
- Again, please note that Pedro should have won.
Rookie of the Year
Carlos Peña, 1B, A's
Eric Hinske, 3B, Blue Jays
- Well, not only was Peña a bust of sorts, he got traded to Detroit, where his rookie season continued to falter. Hinske hit the crap out of the ball and appears that he will be the third-baseman of the future for the Jays.
Manager of the Year
Art Howe, A's
Mike Scoscia, Angels
- Don't be surprised if I pick Howe in New York next year. I have picked him for three years straight. Was he deserving this year? Yeah. Was Scoscia more deserving? Yeah.
Sammy Sosa, RF, Cubs
Or maybe: Luis Gonzalez, LF, Diamondbacks. JD Drew, RF, Cardinals. Lance Berkman, LF, Astros. Barry Bonds, LF, Giants. Robby Alomar, 2B, Mets.
Barry Bonds, LF, Giants
- I honestly didn't think Bonds would stay healthy through the season to make a run at MVP. But he did, and he deserved it, and won it unanimously.
Randy Johnson, LHP, Diamondbacks
Randy Johnson, LHP, Diamondbacks
- And he might win it next year, too.
Rookie of the Year
Sean Burroughs, 3B, Padres
Jason Jennings, RHP, Rockies
- If you told me in April that a Rockies pitcher was going to win NL ROY, I would have slapped you with a fish. You would have been right, but I still would have slapped you with a fish.
Manager of the Year
Bobby Valentine, Mets
Tony LaRussa, Cardinals
- Well, of course I was way off on this one. Valentine ended up getting fired. But in all fairness, with that video game lineup the Mets have, did anybody expect them to finish in dead last?