Monday, April 11, 2016

Signor Baseball's 2016 NL Preview

Time to temporarily put away childish Trump and Cruz and super delegates and all those millionaires and billionaires cheating on their taxes, and think for a moment about something important.

NL East: It has perhaps occurred to some of us that Bryce Harper is not as good as Bryce Harper thinks Bryce Harper is...or is that simply a clown conjecture? Anyway, what are we, Bryce Harper included, without our aspirations? The Nationals aspire to not be such a huge letdown, yet again. Matt Williams was not particularly good at his job, so now it's Dusty Baker's turn to be disappointed by all that talent. The Mets retain superior pitching and a couple of bats, and if they can stop shooting themselves in the foot, as they did throughout the World Series, and nobody's arm falls off, always a big "if", they should be the class of this division. Down Miami way, repeat after me "worst owner in baseball, worst owner in baseball". We will see if Don Mattingly can manage a team with a payroll under 200 mil. But who knows, they have a knack for turning up young talent, Giancarlo Stanton is beast if healthy, and maybe Barry Bonds will spread some pharmaceutical magic and the Marlins will ride his pixie dust into contention. The Braves, as always, are solid, but not nearly good enough to win this division. The Phillies are in complete tear it down and start over mode. Which is fine, because booing is a Philadelphia sports fan's automatic default mode anyway.

The NL Central presents the unsettling proposition that the Cubs are now the team to beat. Can this be?  Yes, Virginia, it can. And it would be great if they could finally win the pennant and the Series and we could finally stop hearing about the curse of the billy goat, and all the other miseries that have befallen Chicago since 1908. I don't think that's going to happen this year, but they should win the Central at least. Unless, of course, the pressure of being the presumptive favorite is too much for them. The Cardinals and Pirates will be right behind them should they falter. St. Louis, ho hum, is again very, very good. Year in and year out, not unlike the San Antonio Spurs. Although lately they seem to be snake bitten injury wise. And, at best, the poor Pirates look destined to play another one game Wild Card playoff. Maybe they can win one...some day. The Brewers and Reds bring up the rear. I'd look for fire sales from both of them come mid Summer. Frankly, states that elect the likes of Scott Walker and John Kasich really deserve no more.

Out in the NL West, the Diamondbacks look like a real baseball team for the first time in awhile, and many much wiser folks than I have predicted big things from them this year. Unfortunately, their skeevy owners have decided to extort the locals into turning over the public trough--or else! Just another Give Us More--Or We Will Leave punk move by a group of very wealthy white men. Sound familiar? So, I wish ruin upon them and pick, ho hum, LA or SF to win the division. Even without Greinke, the Dodgers are still loaded and it's an even year, which recently has meant 'the Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!' Down San Diego way, there's a Nobu real close to Padres' Petco Field. So they've got that going for them...And up in Colorado, the Rockies can have all the legal Mary Jane they can get their hands or mostly lose, it's all good, bro!

PS if you had Jordan Spieth in the Quadruple Bogey pool, you're a winner!

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