Monday, April 6, 2009

Cubs: "We'll have the usual, thank you"

The Bald Truth

Gee, is spring training over already? Why, it seems as though pitchers and catchers reported only a few millennia ago. 

I think Octo-Mom popped out a half-dozen more kids - and Madonna adopted them - since spring training started ... and yet Rich Harden still looks like he needs another month to get ready for the 20 or so starts he'll make this season for the Cubbies.

Anyway, the season has started with Sunday night's Phillies-Braves game (not to mention the White Sox's announcement that Monday's scheduled opener already has been rained/snowed/sleeted/frozen out), so let's finish the official BTB baseball predictions for 2009.

I'm already on record with my division winners: Both Chicago teams as well as the Phillies, Diamondbacks, Red Sox and Angels. The postseason field also will include the wild-card-winning Yankees and Dodgers.

In the first round of the playoffs: Red Sox over White Sox; Yankees over Angels; Phillies over Dodgers and Diamondbacks over Cubs in (of course) a three-game sweep. Because what is a Cubs postseason under Lou Piniella without a demoralizing, humiliating broom job at the hands of the NL West champion?

The Red Sox will top the Yankees in the ALCS while the Phillies handle the D-Backs to win another NL pennant. 

And for the third time in six years since becoming un-cursed, Boston wins the World Series.

Now for some individual awards:

AL MVP: Mark Teixeira, Yankees.

NL MVP: Albert Pujols, Cardinals.

AL Cy Young: Roy Halladay, Blue Jays.

NL Cy Young: Derek Lowe, Braves. (I wrote this before he humbled the Phillies on Sunday - honest!)

AL First Manager Fired: Ron Washington, Rangers (but Joe Girardi had better not have another lousy April in the Bronx).

NL First Manager Fired: Cecil Cooper, Astros (but Dusty Baker has to watch his back with Walt Jocketty now running the Reds).

The Balder Truth

After Michigan State impressively thrashed his UConn Huskies, it was interesting to hear Jim Calhoun get all introspective when it comes to his career. He might keep coaching, he might not, he'll let us know later.

Well, if he was going to get all deep and metaphysical, maybe he should think about his team not taking part in the time-honored tradition of cutting down the nets after it advanced to the Final Four by winning the West Regional. He said he and his lads simply wanted to wait until they got to cut down the nets after the national championship game.

That would have been like the Tampa Bay Rays not celebrating following each postseason round last season because they wanted to keep the champagne on ice until after the World Series.

One of baseball's fun traditions is the celebration after the clinching of a playoff berth and then again after each round. The champion gets to celebrate four times in a month. How cool! Cutting down the nets - after winning a conference title, a regional title and/or a national title - is every bit as cool.

The UConn players might never get another chance. And the way Calhoun was talking, he might have cut down his last net five years ago when he could have experienced the thrill again just last week. What a shame.


What was that I said a few days ago? UConn vs. Villanova for the NCAA title? Ugh. Don't remind me.

Time for yet another mulligan!

First, I have to ask myself a question: How could I have picked anybody to beat North Carolina, clearly the best team in college basketball?

Sorry Tar Heels ... it's kiss-of-death time:

North Carolina 83, Michigan State 74.

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