Just for the record…. (2018 Baseball Predictions)

For the record…

The Houston Astros will repeat as World Series champions, beating the Washington Nationals in 6 games.

The Miami Marlins will have the worst record in baseball.

The Baltimore Orioles will trade Manny Machado by the deadline.

Mike Trout will be MVP… but only because Manny Machado will have been traded to an NL team.

Giancarlo Stanton will not hit 60+ HRs, but will hit 50+ HRs.

Same goes for Aaron Judge.

The Yankees will win the AL East

The Indians will win the AL Central.

The Astros will win the AL West.

The Nationals will win the NL East.

The Cubs will win the NL Central.

The Dodgers will win the NL West.

The Red Sox and Twins will be the AL Wild Cards, the Red Sox will win that game.

The Brewers and Diamondbacks will be the NL Wild Cards, the Brewers will win that game.

Shohei Otani will not win AL Rookie of the Year.

Otani will contribute more on the mound than the plate.

Ronald Acuna will be NL Rookie of the Year.

Michael Kopech will be AL Rookie of the Year.

Clayton Kershaw will win NL Cy Young.

Chris Sale will win AL Cy Young.

There will be three no-hitters this year, but only two of them will be by a single pitcher.

The AL will win the All-Star Game.

Many of these predictions will be wrong.

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Peter Angelos’ specter of mortality is keeping the Orioles from doing what must be done

The following are true:

1. Peter Angelos, majority owner of the Baltimore Orioles, is 88 years old. This coming 4th of July, he will be 89.

2. The Baltimore Orioles’ current window for contention is almost entirely closed. Barring a miracle or a sudden change of heart, this will be the last season that Manny Machado, their best player, will be on the team. Adam Jones may also soon be gone. Chris Davis is still in for the next few years, but is no longer the slugger he once was. The pitching continues to be uneven at best, although Dylan Bundy still has some promise. The bullpen is better, but is still hurt by injuries and free agencies. The farm system, while not as bad as some say, is still poor, especially compared to most of the Orioles’ AL East rivals. Oh, and those AL rivals, especially the Yankees and Red Sox, seem to be headed towards another one of those 5-10 year stretches where they will be fighting for the top spot while all other teams fight for third.

3. The Orioles are doing nothing to set the groundwork for another run. They haven’t traded Machado, they haven’t had any significant talks with Jones, and to the best of my knowledge they haven’t stepped-up scouting or tried to get any top international prospects.

Those preceding points are, again, all true. And they are all related. To be more specifically, they all have to do with point number one: Peter Angelos is 88 years old. Every owner in sports dreams of two things (although the order may differ depending on the person): to win a championship, and to make a ton of money.

Angelos has succeeded in the latter. He is a billionaire, and the value of the Orioles has skyrocketed since his group first bought them in the 90s. No championship has come, and Angelos, in his old age, no doubt recognizes his chances of seeing one are numbered. It does not take a psychologist to recognize what is happening in his psyche: he wants to win one before he goes, and he has decided that he has a better chance if he stays the course, as opposed to committing to a long rebuild that he may not be alive for the end of.

It isn’t completely insane. To be sure, the Orioles aren’t anyone’s pick to win the World Series in 2018. Or even win the division. Or even the wild card. However, it isn’t totally insane to think that maybe Buck Showalter can work his magic one last time and that the team could overachieve its way into some type of Wild Card spot. And then, it’d be the playoffs, and who knows? Maybe they could somehow get hot at the right time and come home as champions. It isn’t likely at all, but it isn’t totally impossible.

However, it should be noted that there is an error with this theory: if indeed this was a case of wanting to win now before Machado leaves, the Orioles would be doing a lot more. To the best of my knowledge, they have made no major overtures to any of the top free agents still left on the market. They outright admitted they made no serious attempt to get Shohei Ohtani, citing organizational philosophy. With the exception of a few minor moves, they have made no indication that they are going for it, no-holds-barred.

Perhaps this is because of the climate of baseball this hot stove season, where the movement has been so slow that some are speaking of collusion and flaws in baseball’s financial structure. However, it seems unlikely that Angelos, probably the most pro-labor owner in baseball (during the 94/95 strike he refused to try out scabs), would go along with collusion, at least explicitly. No, more than likely it is just that the other part of being an owner: the money. Quite simply, Peter Angelos is trying to have it both ways: he wants to win a championship before he dies, but he also doesn’t want to put the money in the game that would let him do it.

In other words, he is trying to do two things at once, and in the end, he may end up with nothing at all.

My sure-to-be-wrong predictions for the postseason

Before the year, I predicted that the Washington Nationals would win it all. Therefore, I must stick with that prediction.

But I’m not confident in it. I made that prediction assuming that Bryce Harper wouldn’t fall off (he did, due to injuries) and that Stephen Strasburg would be healthy (nope). Still, they definitely are a team that can win it all. They just aren’t the favorite anymore.

So, without further ado, my predictions for the postseason, sure to be wrong (the team with home field comes SECOND here):

AL WILD CARD: Neither Chris Tillman or Marcus Stroman have done that great down the stretch, but with the lineups behind them that hasn’t been that big of a deal. Make no mistake: this game could become a slugfest. However, I’m going to give the edge (barely) to the Orioles, because I have more faith in their bullpen, and Zack Britton in particular. Of course, a one-game playoff is a total crapshoot, so who the heck knows?

NL WILD CARD: Folks, I’ve checked the calendar, and it’s October. And Madison Bumgarner is pitching. Sorry, Mets. Giants win, although, again… one-game playoffs are crapshoots.

ALDS ORIOLES/RANGERS: Man, are the Rangers the most anonymous best-record-in-the-AL team in years or what? A lot of people seem to have just assumed that the Red Sox had the best record, but they didn’t. Anyway, I think that the Rangers will win this series in 4, as they A) are the better team and B) have better pitching.

ALDS INDIANS/RED SOX: The Red Sox may not have had the best record in the AL, but they probably were the best team. The Indians, meanwhile, played like how many people thought they’d play last season. This probably will be the best series in the Division Series round (barring a Blue Jays-Rangers rematch), but I think the Red Sox win it in 5.

NLDS DODGERS/NATIONALS: Again, I am duty-bound to pick the Nationals (I’ll say in 5), but if I weren’t duty-bound to do so I probably would pick the Dodgers, who are coming into the postseason hotter and with Clayton Kershaw healthy again. Still, the Nationals are still a very good team, and maybe the bad luck that seems to haunt Kershaw every damn October- as well as the Dodgers’ own injury problems- will pop up again.

NLDS GIANTS/CUBS: If I were not duty-bound to pick the Nationals, I’d probably say the Cubs would finally win it all this year. They may well be the most complete team in baseball, and I think they will defeat the Giants in 4.

ALCS RED SOX/RANGERS: This could be a good series, and I’m sure the FOX will be happy to know that I think the Red Sox would win in 6 due to their better depth and what my gut is telling me.

NLCS NATIONALS/CUBS: Again, duty-bound to pick the Nationals, although logically I think the Cubs would win. So… Nationals in 7.

WORLD SERIES NATIONALS/RED SOX: I have a feeling this series would either be a short 4-5 game victory for the Red Sox, or a 6-7 game victory of the Nationals. You can guess what I think it’d be based on what I’ve said so far.

So… who’d be in the 2016 “In Memoriam” montage?

Like in previous years, here’s who would be in this season’s hypothetical “In Memoriam” segment of the All-Star Game. It’s in a semi-random order, and a * means that they’d get an extra emphasis, such as a highlight or interview clip about them- they all died after last year’s ASG (July 14):

Joe Garagiola Sr., Player and famed announcer*

Milt Pappas, 2-time All-Star

Mike Sandlock, played portions of five seasons

Dick McAuliffe, 3-time All-Star

John Young, creator of the RBI program

Paul Carey, Announcer

Sammy Ellis, 1965 All-Star

Monte Irvin, HoF outfielder*

Luis Arroyo, 2-time All-Star

Eddie Milner, Reds OF in 1980s

Jim Hickman, 1970 All-Star

Walt Williams, 10 seasons in MLB

Eddie Einhorn, White Sox Vice Chairman

Joaquin Andujar, 4-time All-Star*

Tommy Hanson, MLB pitcher for Braves and Angels

Phil Pepe, Noted NYC baseball writer

Rueben Quevedo, MLB pitcher from 2000 to 2003

Jim Davenport, All-Star and Gold Glove winner

Walter Young, 1B for Orioles in 2005

Frank Sullivan, 2-time All-Star

Dave Henderson, 1991 All-Star and hitter of famed home run off of Donnie Moore*

John Tsitouris, played parts of 11 seasons

Spec Richardson, General Manager for Astros and Giants

Betty Francis, AAGPBL player

Bobby Smith, OF with five teams from 1957-1965

Masayoshi Higashida, 2-time NPB All-Star

Billy Pierce, 7-time All-Star

Gene Elston, long-time Houston Announcer and Ford C. Frick winner *

Jim Ray Hart, 1966 All-Star

Marilyn Jones, AAGPBL star

Barney Schultz, Cardinals relief ace

Trent Baker, member of the Brisbane Bandits

Harry Perkowski, played parts of 8 seasons

Dean Chance, 2-time All-Star and 1964 Cy Young Award winner

Buzz Bowers, Baseball Scout Hall of Famer

Frank Malzone, 3-time Gold Glove, multiple ASG appearances, member of BOS HoF*

Jim O’Toole, Reds Hall of Famer and 1963 All-Star

Chico Fernandez, MLB 1956-1963

Erma Bergmann, AAGPBL Star

Joe Durham, Negro Leaguer and longtime member of the Orioles organization

June Peppas, AAGPBL Star

Kiyohiro Miura, 19-years in NPB

Milo Hamilton, Announcer and Ford C. Frick winner *

Ken Johnson, Pitcher for seven teams between 1958 and 1970

Norm Siebern, 3-time All-Star

Alice Pollitt, AAGPBL star

Hal Brown, Knuckleballer in 1950s and 60s

James Moore, Negro League All-Star

Tony Phillips, Utilityman Extraordinaire*

Garry Hancock, OF during portions of 6 season

Tom Kelley, Reliever in 60s and 70s

Donny Everett, college player for Vanderbilt

Cal Neeman, SS in Majors 1957-1963

Jimmy Williams, Player, coach and member of Canadian Baseball HoF

Yogi Berra, HoF Catcher and 18-time All-Star *

 

Who’d be on MLB Money?

After reading about the addition of Harriet Tubman to the 20 dollar bill, I got to thinking: If Major League Baseball had it’s own currency, who’d be on it?

It’s not entirely outlandish. After all, there are Disney Dollars and up in Canada they have Canadian Tire money, it’s not that much out of the realm of possibility that baseball could have it’s own currency that could only be used at ballparks, team stores, and the like. Maybe they could call them “Baseball Bucks”, or something like that.

So… who’d be on these… Baseball Bucks?

$1: Henry Chadwick. The one-dollar Baseball Buck would have to, like George Washington on the US $1, be that of a founding father. While Chadwick can’t be considered as one of baseball’s many possible inventors, he was one of the men who helped promote it and made it a widely-played sport.. He also developed many of the game’s mainstay statistics, such as batting average and ERA. It’s not surprising, really, that some have called him the “Father of Baseball”. So, it feels right that he’d be on the $1 Baseball Buck. On the other side of the $1 Baseball Buck would be a image of the Elysian Fields in New Jersey as it was during the early days of baseball.

$2: Ty Cobb. Thomas Jefferson is a guy who was so great, important, and brilliant that he kind of has to be on money, but who’s life was so full of personal failings and hypocrisy that at times you kind of wish you didn’t have to put him on money. So in some ways it’s good that he’s on the two-dollar-bill, the rarest of all currently-printed banknotes. I’d imagine that a similar arrangement would exist for Baseball Bucks. Ty Cobb was too good and too important of a player to be ignored, but, well, he was Ty Cobb, possibly the meanest son-of-a-gun to ever play the game. He possibly once killed a drifter, he once beat up a crippled man, and his racism is so well-known that it’s entirely possible he was less racist than many people think he was (he was still pretty racist, he just wasn’t as racist as Cap Anson, who was certifiably The Worst). But he also was unquestionably the greatest baseball player of all time before Babe Ruth showed up and still stands as one of the greatest hitters who ever lived, so…. he’s going to be the Baseball Bucks version of Thomas Jefferson. The reverse of the $2 Baseball Buck would be the late Tiger Stadium.

$5: Jackie Robinson. The $1 dollar bill belongs to the father, but $5 dollar bill belongs to the emancipator. Perhaps that is giving Jackie Robinson too much credit- after all, the integration of baseball was ultimately a result of many men (and women!), both black and white- but the fact remains that Jackie Robinson, more than anybody else in baseball history, belongs on money. And I’m talking about real money here, not fake hypothetical baseball money. So, not surprisingly, he’s a shoo-in for being on a Baseball Buck. The reverse of the $5 Baseball Buck would be Jackie Robinson sliding in as he steals home against Yogi Berra and the Yankees during the 1955 World Series.

$10: Ted Williams. I can’t really make any deep connection between Alexander Hamilton and Ted Williams (outside of the fact that they were both workaholic veterans who didn’t have the most stable of family lives growing up and made a bunch of enemies), but… c’mon, he’s Ted Williams. He’d have to be on a Baseball Buck. The reverse of the $10 Baseball Buck would be Fenway Park.

$20: Satchel Paige. There needs to be a pitcher amongst these legends, and while Walter Johnson, Cy Young, Sandy Koufax or Greg Maddux (amongst others) would all have fine claims, none of them were as colorful and legendary as Satchel Paige, who would also provide a nice nod to the great Negro Leaguers. The reverse of the $20 Baseball Buck would be the Negro Leagues Museum in Kansas City.

$50: John McGraw. There needs to be a manager. John McGraw is the greatest manager of all time (anybody who disagrees is also disagreeing with Connie Mack, who once declared that McGraw was the only true manager in baseball), so he’s it. It would make sense to have him be the $50 Baseball Buck, since the real fifty-dollar-bill has Ulysses Grant- a general- on it. The reverse of the $50 Baseball Buck would be Comiskey Park during the first All-Star Game, which McGraw managed in.

$100: Babe Ruth. It’s all about the Babe. And, just as Ben Franklin excelled in multiple areas and had a infamous appetite for food and women, so did the Bambino… although admittedly pitching and hitting is a bit different than politics and science (and writing, and philosophy, and… you get the idea.) And, much like how Ben Franklin was the first grand American celebrity, Ruth was baseball’s first megastar. Who else could be on the biggest denomination? The reverse of the $100 Baseball Buck would be the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

You may be wondering who’d be on the coins. Well, there wouldn’t be any coins, probably. I mean, Disney doesn’t have any coins in their Disney Dollars, so I don’t think MLB would, either. Maybe I can do that in another post….

CONTINUUCAST 9 featuring @StaceGots, WBC News and a special BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE announcement!

The Baseball Continuum Continuucast’s ninth episode with special guest Stacey Gostulias (and her cat)! Hit play above, download by right-clicking here, follow the RSS feed here or follow on iTunes here or Stitcher here (if the latest episode isn’t up yet, it will be shortly).

The 9th Continuucast, now able to fill a NL starting lineup!

 

First, Dan talks to Stacey Gotsulias (and her cat) about the Yankees, New Yankee Stadium, the super-expensive seats in said stadium, the possibility that baseball may one day have ads on uniforms, baseball’s attempts at broadening it’s fanbase, and more. Big thanks to Stacey, who can be followed on Twitter at @StaceGots!

 

Next, Dan give his opinions on Jim Leyland being hired for Team USA in 2017.

 

Finally, Dan previews the next Continuucast, and makes a special announcement about another area that the Baseball Continuum is expanding into! Fans of BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE will want to hear this!

 

Music/Sounds Featured:

 

“The National Game” by John Phillip Sousa

 

“Here Come The Yankees”

 

The World Baseball Classic Theme

 

“Flight of the Bumblebee” (AKA The Green Hornet Theme) by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov performed by the US Army Band (special “Bizarre Baseball Culture” remix by Dan Glickman featuring the Pablo Sanchez Theme and clips from previous and future Bizarre Baseball Culture pieces)

 

The Theme from Fallout 4

 

All sound and music used is either public domain or is a short snippet that falls under fair use.