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Sombrero Staff Prognostications: Dee’s 2011 Predictions

AL East

1.     Boston Red Sox

2.     Tampa Bay Rays (Wildcard)

3.     New York Yankees

4.     Toronto Blue Jays

5.     Baltimore Orioles

AL Central

1.   Minnesota Twins

2.   Detroit Tigers

3.   Chicago White Sox

4.   Kansas City Royals

5.   Cleveland Indians

AL West

1.   Texas Rangers

2.   Los Angeles Angels

3.   Oakland Athletics

4.   Seattle Mariners

ALDS 1: Red Sox over Twins (4 games)

ALDS 2: Rays over Rangers (5 games)

ALCS: Red Sox over Rays (6 games)

MVP: Dustin Pedroia


Top 10 Reasons Opening Day Can’t Get Here Soon Enough

Franco is the mastermind behind Next Level Ballplayer, a website designed to help turn guys who play baseball into ballplayers who play the game the right way. During his four-year career as a scholarship player at Miami University (OH), they won the league division three times, the overall league championship once, and participated in the NCAA Regionals (and were knocked out by the eventual National Champion Texas Longhorns). He has been teammates with over 25 guys who have been selected in the MLB draft (three of whom have made their MLB debuts) and has played against numerous guys that are currently playing in the big leagues.

We are officially less than 24 hours away from one of the best weekdays of the year. The first two rounds of March Madness, the first round of the MLB playoffs, and MLB Opening Day. Are there any other weekdays throughout the year that offer multiple, energy filled games during the work/school day? If so, please remind me in the comments section. Onto my top 10 reasons opening day can’t get here soon enough…


Some Outlandish Predictions for 2011

Mark Twain is responsible for popularizing the Sir Charles Wentworth Dilke quote, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”  As someone who bases many of his opinions on statistics, I could not agree more.  I could take any player, along with any different combination of stats, and come up with two different opinions on that player.  Anyone who has ever manipulated statistics to benefit their own argument knows exactly what I am talking about.  But what about the other times, when you come to an opinion that has no logical basis other than you just feel it?  Deep down inside your gut you have an inkling, an instinct that something will happen.  There is no real rhyme or reason behind this belief.  Most of the time when you mention these beliefs to friends they call you crazy, or some synonym of loco.  The beauty of these types of beliefs is that when they become a reality, when you have used only your gut instinct to defy the laws of statistical analysis, it is a thing of beauty.  I can honestly say that there is no better feeling in the world.

When I was 11-years-old, living in Houston, I told anyone who would listen how the Rockets were going to win it all.  They defied all odds, coming back from a 2-0 deficit in the first round to defeat the Jazz, then coming back from a 3-1 deficit to eliminate the Suns, and finally sweeping Shaq and the Magic in the Finals to win it all; all while becoming the first team in NBA history to defeat four 50-win teams en route to winning an NBA title.  What does this have to do with the 2011 baseball season though?  At 11-years-old, I had no idea what statistics could be used for.  I knew nothing about backing up an opinion with logical information.  I was freaking 11-years-old!  But, somewhere deep down inside I knew, I just knew, that my Rockets were not going to lose a playoff series that year.  Maybe it was because they had the heart of a champion.  Maybe not.  Either way, I made a gut call about sports and it miraculously came to fruition.

Long story short, that premise is the central idea for this article.  In the upcoming weeks you will find a myriad of articles around the web talking about people’s bold predictions.  Most of these predictions have some sort of stat to back them up.  Not me.  I am here to give you some truly outlandish predictions that have no evidence to support them other than I “feel” like it will happen.  This is not about me trying to predict the future correctly.  This is about finding that 11-year-old inside of me who just believed.  This is about having some fun and enjoying letting my imagination run wild with the endless possibilities of what could happen in a baseball season that has yet to start.  So, without further ado, here are my outlandish, completely unwarranted, and instinct-based predictions for the 2011 Major League Baseball season.


Around The League: Lincecum’s SI cover, Manny Ramirez, Yunel Escobar, J.R. Richard and more…

  • Baseball fans loved Tim Lincecum’s suit and bowtie look so much that Sports Illustrated thought that it would make the perfect cover to cap the year.  Lincecum has now graced the cover of SI twice in recent years, both of which are among my favorites.
  • Apparently the New York Yankees do not have any interest in signing Manny Ramirez.  As Spring Training rolls around, Ramirez, who really hasn’t been the same player since returning from suspension for PEDs, will surely receive some consideration from American League teams.  However, as someone who is represented by Scott Boras and also accustomed to receiving gigantic contracts, I wonder whether Ramirez will be on a Major League roster to start the 2011 season.  Could Man-Ram be the next Jermaine Dye?


Four Ballparks Part IV: Chase Field. Hot Dogs for Three and Change for your Five

When Dad and I woke up for the final day of the Four Ballparks, Four Cities, Four Days trip, we realized immediately that we had some serious ground to cover.  Although we could walk to Ballpark #3 from our Los Angeles Hilton, it was located a full 375 miles from Ballpark #4—Chase Field in beautiful downtown Phoenix, Arizona.

So off we went into the desert, our trusty Toyota Corolla pointed directly toward The City that Sleeps at 7PM.  I wasn’t sure what to expect in the six-hour drive, save for a colleague’s admonition from before I left the office—make sure your air conditioning works.  At first I wasn’t sure how seriously I needed to take this on a beautiful 80-degree day in Los Angeles.  However, as we drove deeper into the desert, the temperature steadily climbed into the 90’s before finally cracking the triple digits.  Before we crossed the Arizona state line, the Corolla’s thermometer read 105, which (not coincidentally I am certain) represented a higher number than the populations of several towns we passed along the way.