Monday, 11 April 2016

Who Doesn't Dig The Long Ball?
#TwineTime jumps out of the batter's box with an MLB Preview

The grass is cut.  The lines are drawn.  The bases are clean.  The balls are....plentiful?  Ok, you get where I am going here.  The Major League Baseball season has once again opened it's glistening gates inviting (for the most part) grown men to become boys once again all summer.

As the saying goes, "If you build it they will come" and a blog preview is no different.  With a new season under way, it's only a blogger's responsibility to step up to the plate and take a few swings at the 2016 MLB season while many sit in the stands, beer in one hand, down their pants with the other and judge the action on the field...and the blogger behind the computer.  Bring it on I say my fellow sports loving, beer drinking, ball scratching friend...I welcome the challenge.  Besides, odds say I have to hit a homer every once in awhile after so many attempts right?  Right?

Last year was, I would say, sub-par with my predictions.  For full disclosure and a reminder of how little I actually know about this sport apparently, HERE is last year's preview blog post.  As the title stated, it really was a swing and a miss!  But those are memories in the past, this is the present and I am ready to be correct about the future.

This season I am going to take a different approach to the preview.  Rather than a simple division / playoff breakdown, I am going to go with a more traditional #PowerRankings format.  I have combed the teams and slotted them into 5 categories: 1st Base, 2nd Base, 3rd Base, Home Run and the #WorldSeries Grand Slam!  Why not have a little fun and try something different right?  Oh I hear my walk-up music blaring over the computer speakers....Welcome to the Show!

Now batting....average prognosticator and all around sports blogger....#TwineTime:

1ST BASE (Best of luck next year)

Atlanta Braves
Philadelphia Phillies
Milwaukee Brewers
San Diego Padres
Oakland A's
Minnesota Twins
Colorado Rockies

Not a lot of love for the National League in this group.  But is that much of a surprise to anyone?  The NL is, overall, a weaker league in comparison and should have more teams hovering around the century mark for losses come season end.

2ND BASE (Be happy to be relevant at the All-Star break)

Cincinnati Reds
Baltimore Orioles
Chicago White Sox
New York Yankees
LA Angels
Detroit Tigers

Here we see a massive influx of American League teams now.  But, let's be honest, that really just means a few more AL teams feel a false sense of hope at the All-Star break in comparison to their NL counterparts.  Don't be deceived though, all 13 of the teams listed above should not be thinking about baseball in the Fall.  If you look at the comparison numbers, the AL actually has 7 teams listed as being eliminated post-All-Star weekend.  The NL only has 6.  Hmmmm maybe the tides are changing towards the top echelon of the sport and the NL might be the stronger league this season?

3RD BASE (Outside shot at the playoffs)

Arizona Diamondbacks
Cleveland Indians
Seattle Mariners
Miami Marlins
LA Dodgers
St. Louis Cardinals
Texas Rangers

Now any of these 7 teams could make a strong playoff push and, honestly, wouldn't surprise me at all to see them playing deep into September.  I think LA, St. Louis and Texas are the real wildcard teams in this group.  These 3 teams could go anywhere from missing the playoffs completely to possibly playing in their league championship series.

HOME RUN (See you in October)

Boston Red Sox
Washington Nationals
Tampa Bay Rays
New York Mets
Houston Astros
San Francisco Giants
Kansas City Royals
Pittsburgh Pirates

Welcome to the elite of #MLB16.  These are the 8 teams that SHOULD find themselves in the playoffs at the end of the regular season.  Interesting to note, Pittsburgh is actually my NL Wild Card winner but I see them making a long playoff run this year...all the way to the NLCS.  The KC stranglehold on the AL will come oh so close to the #3peat but just fall 1 game short of going for the World Series repeat.

GRAND SLAM (The #TwineTime #WorldSeries Prediction)

NL Champion Chicago Cubs over AL Champion Toronto Blue Jays in 7 games

This. Is. The. Year.  The curse...the finally ends.  The Cubbies are going to not only finally play in a World Series...they are going to win the World Series.  I think the NL Central is one of the best overall divisions in baseball with the Top 3 teams all being fully capable of a World Series run.  Chicago will come out of the regular season with a division title and major confidence of fending off high-quality opponents in Pittsburgh and St. Louis.  The Cubs and Pirates will renew their division rivalry in the NLCS with fate and destiny prevailing in the end (and to the sadness of this HUGE Pirates fan!).
As for the AL, Canada is back!  Sure Canadian teams disappointed during the hockey season with all teams missing the playoffs but as American's lay claim to Canada's sport, turnabouts fair play on the diamond with Canada laying claim to America's favorite past time.  The Jays won't make it easy on themselves and will become the cardiac kids for Canadian sports fans.  But, with a much-hated rivalry vs defending champs KC in the ALCS, Canada will rise up collectively cheering Molson Canadian and Tim Hortons as The 6 returns to the World Series.  Unfortunately for Jays fans, destiny will be too strong and, in an evenly matched World Series, the Cubs will prevail.  Plus 2016 is celebrating 100 years of the Chicago Cubs playing at Wrigley Field.  What a story book ending it will be to see them win the World Series at Wrigley Field?  Happy Birthday indeed!!

Oh...and yes....I do firmly believe the SF Giants trend of winning the World Series in even-numbered years will come to an end.  Sorry Giants fans, I know you were counting on this continuing but all good streaks come to an end.  This will be a season of streaks ending.  The Giants won't win a World Series in an even-numbered season.  The Royals won't win another AL crown.  And the Cubs WILL hoist the Commissioner's Trophy in October!

What say you sports world?  Agree?  Disagree?  Let me hear from you.

Enjoy the season from the baselines.

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