Sunday, March 31, 2013

Signor Baseball's 2013 NL Preview

The Winter has flown by, erratic weather and all, Spring is in the air, and to top it off, they tell me Christ has risen. So get ready to re-tear that rotator cuff, re-pull that groin, and renew your faith in our National Pastime! Yes, moms and dads, boys and girls, and children of all ages, it's time for Signor Baseball's 2013 National League preview:

In the East, Atlanta and Washington have the edge over the aging Phillies. One should win the division and the other should be a lock for a wild card. Personally, I hope Justin Upton hits 40 homers and wins the MVP award. And I don't even like the Braves. In DC, that Harper kid and Strasburg Unchained will be fun to watch. Of course, Philadelphia does still have a lot of talent, so if everybody stays healthy--which is highly unlikely--and the Nationals or Braves falter even a little, the Phils could squeeze past them. If not, maybe the Yanks can buy Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard at the trading deadline. The Mets don't have much (healthy) pitching and very little offense, so it will be neck and neck with them and the fire sale Marlins as to which team finishes last. At least one half of the population of New York City will be miserable all Summer long, but based on the attendance figures for Florida, hardly anyone down there will notice or care. So maybe, if things loosen up in a few years, the Marlins can move to Havana, where people really do love baseball.

In the Central, it looks like another year where being a couple of games over .500 will keep you in the race until the bitter end. The Cards and Reds should trade off first place throughout the Summer, with the Pirates and Brewers just a little behind them. For what it's worth, Cincinnati always seems to find a way to falter in the clutch and St. Louis doesn't.  In long suffering Chicago...well...Cubs' fans will continue to suffer. In a just world this wouldn't happen to such fine folks. But, as John F. Kennedy was heard to say, "life isn't fair." I still expect Theo Epstein to build a winner in "the city of broad shoulders". Though maybe not in my lifetime. One thing is for certain: Houston will not finish last in the NL Central this year. Because the Astros are moving to the AL West, taking their patented brand of AAA baseball to the Junior Circuit. Where they will finish last.

And in the West, the Giants are defending World Champions again, the Dodgers spent a billion dollars, and the Diamondbacks traded their best all around player. Oh, and for some, possibly gritty, reason, Arizona likes to keep their best outfielder in reserve--just in case. Like Donald Sutherland's "Oddball" character in Kelley's Heroes. After an off season purge, my home team is loaded top to bottom with "character" guys and "grinders".  Now, if only they could play baseball a little better...The Giants don't have as much offense as the Dodgers, at least on paper. I also like LA's pitching a little more than San Francisco's, so take the Dodgers first, the Giants hot on their tails, the D-Backs, with their questionable starting rotation and line-up du jour, a furlong back, and the Rockies and Padres fighting it out for last. Sure, "the last shall be first", but not in this world. On the other hand, Denver and San Diego are beautiful places to spend the Summer, so it's not all bad for their fans.

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