After five long months of misery, that glorious day is finally upon us. No, I’m not talking about the premiere of NBC’s newest sitcom, Best Friends Forever.
I’m of course talking about Major League Baseball’s Opening Day, which commences this Wednesday with a game between the defending World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals and Bud Selig‘s most recent blatant attempt to appeal to the Latin demographic, the newly relocated Miami Marlins. I’m surprised they haven’t changed the name to “Los Marlins” yet, like some other sports have tried.
I know what you’re saying. Didn’t the season already start in Japan? I see where you’re coming from, but the answer is no—no it did not. First of all, the games featured two teams that might as well be Triple-A squads, the Oakland A’s and the Seattle Mariners. Second, this is America. Games only really count if they’re played on American soil, and if you don’t like it you can get the hell out. America, F%$* Yeah! They took our jobs!
Anyway, this week I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of awards predictions. Who will win the MVP? Cy Young? Roberto Clemente Award?
Those are all great, but they’re really of no consequence to us. Do I really need to hear an expert say that Albert Pujols is going to feast on American League pitching? Or that Justin Verlander is still going to be great, but can’t repeat his “video game numbers” from last season?
Then you have the other side of the coin—outlandish opinions like, “Manny Ramirez will win the AL MVP” or “Look for Jamie Moyer to have a big strikeout year.” These predictions are clearly made just to go against the grain and get a rise out of people. They’re always wrong, but in today’s media it’s much better to pick a guy that nobody else is picking because if by some chance he does win then you can say that you saw it coming. If he doesn’t, nobody will hold you accountable. It’s win-win.
Instead of taking that easy road, I’ve instead decided to do the impossible: make some predictions that I personally guarantee will come true. I know, I know. It’s a tough task. But my crack research team and I have been hard at work to come up with these fool-proof predictions. One of the top three candidates listed here will certainly win each award.
Without further ado, I give you TheSportSpin’s 2012 MLB Predictions:
The Stephen Strasburg Award (Most Likely to Get Tommy John Surgery):
- Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers. Chalk this one up to “things are going way too well for this guy; something bad has to happen.” You can only throw 100-mph fastballs in the 9th inning for so long before it catches up to you.
- Matt Moore, Tampa Bay Rays. The most Strasburg-like candidate around, can’t-miss phenom Moore is expected to do big things this year after bursting onto the scene last fall. It’s something else that will be bursting this year: his ulnar collateral ligament.
- Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati Reds. I don’t really need to say much here. He throws 105-mph, his mechanics are not exactly solid, and the Reds are giving him the Joba treatment. Hang on, Aroldis, I think I hear the phone ringing…oh, it’s our good friend Tommy John…it’s for you…
The Miguel Cabrera Award (Most Likely To Injure Yourself Fielding a Ground Ball):
- Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers. It’s already happened once, and it’s going to happen again. When the award is named after you before the season’s even started, you know you’re getting a ball to the face.
- Mark Trumbo, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Trumbo had to shift over to third to make room for some new free agent acquisition, and it hasn’t been pretty. I got to see him live last night and, let’s just say that when the announcers are talking about how it’s harder to catch pop ups in a night sky than a day sky, you’re in trouble.
- Pablo Sandoval, San Francisco Giants. The Panda made headlines last year after dropping a significant amount of weight before the season started. Looks like instead of hitting the weight room this offseason, he hit the bakery. With the added weight the sure-handed third baseman might encounter some old problems.
The Phil Plantier Award (Most Likely To Herniate a Back Disc From Swinging Too Hard)
- Juan Uribe, Los Angeles Dodgers. I saw this guy swing the other day and he literally fell down from swinging so hard. The fact that he’s going to swing and miss 97% of the time this season bodes well for a back injury.
- Prince Fielder, Detroit Tigers. He’s managed to avoid injury to this point, but Fielder has one of the most violent swings in the game. Add to that the fact that he’ll be trying to impress his new fans in Detroit/live up to his dad’s legacy for longballs and he’ll be on the DL in no time.
- Phil Plantier, San Diego Padres. The newly-named hitting coach for the Padres will only be able to watch his players’ lackluster hacks for so long before jumping into the cage to “show them boys how it’s done.” He’ll go 4-4 with four 600-foot homeruns but he will also never be able to walk again.
The Evan Meek Award (Most Likely To Be the Subject of the Question: “That Guy Was An All-Star Last Year?”):
- Aaron Crow, Kansas City Royals. Yup…2011 All-Star. Eric Hosmer might be able to replace Crow as the Royals’ representative this year, but we all have to come to grips with the fact that Aaron Crow could conceivably become a two-time All-Star.
- Kevin Correia, Pittsburgh Pirates. Yup…2011 All-Star. You can’t even use the “every team needs an All-Star” excuse with him, as teammates Joel Hanrahan and Andrew McCutchen made it as well. For the record, Correia finished with a 4.79 ERA last year.
- Ryan Vogelsong, San Francisco Giants. Yup…2011 All-Star. Vogelsong was the feel-good story in San Francisco last season (a team that needed a feel-good story badly after a rash of injuries), but it’s hard to imagine that he’ll be able to continue that level of success this season once the smoke and mirrors wear off. Chances are his 2011 All-Star campaign will be a distant memory.
The Matt Stairs Award (Most Likely to Be Playing Slow-Pitch Softball By the End of the Season)
- Adam Dunn, Chicago White Sox. After suffering one of the worst statistical seasons in the history of baseball, Dunn proved that he re-focused this offseason by hitting .160 in spring training. Around July middle-aged businessmen across the country will get into a bidding war for the right to bring Dunn on as a ringer for the company softball team.
- Mark Reynolds, Baltimore Orioles. Personally I love players whose only concern is hitting the ball over the fence and disregard every other aspect of the game. Unfortunately for Reynolds, the teams he plays for seem to be getting tired of it.
- Jonny Gomes, Oakland Athletics. Gomes has all of Reynolds’ problems but with far less production. Fortunately for him he’s the best option the A’s have in the 4-spot. No…really…
Those are my locks for now, but as soon as the season starts and we see all the players in real game action, we’ll have plenty more to predict. I’m not sure if Vegas has lines on these yet, but I suggest you go lay down some money ASAP to get the highest possible payout.