Don’t forget how meaningless spring training numbers are. It’s encouraging to see the way the pitchers are going, but there are so many possible things that the batters they face are trying to do and that they themselves are trying to do at this point in the spring that the results are unimportant. They are also not predictive of success in the regular season (Scott McClain, Tuffy Rhodes, etc.).
I poo poo on the idea of getting excited about what’s happening so far this spring. That said, this year is no different for me than every other year since I turned six years old: I believe the Cubs are going to win the World Series.
Granted, I’m 0 for 27 so far on that prediction, but one right prediction equals about a thousand wrong predictions when it comes to the World Series!
Here’s how they’re going to do it:
1) Jim Edmonds will get injured in early July, forcing the Cards to play Rick Ankiel in CF. He’ll hit like a solid hitting pitcher: .210 ba, .245 obp, .315 slugging. He’ll also miss the cutoff man 3 times out of 4. This LaRussian decision will cost the Cardinals 5 wins over the remainder of the season.
2) Jeromy Burnitz’s frequent strikeouts and .188 average in late May will be forgotten when a bolt of lightning (perhaps from Zeus himself) will strike him in right field before a game, causing his brain to become scrambled. He will see it as a sign from Zeus and will call himself the Oracle of Zeus. He’ll retire from baseball and build a weird Greek-style temple in Milwaukee. Cheeseheads will flock to him and form an Olympian Revivalist movement culminating in a goat-and-cheesehead orgy in Dionysian fashion during Octoberfest.
3) Burnitz’s departure allows Dubois to play full time. He ends up with a .267/.340/.465 line, which tops Sosa’s numbers.
4) Hollandsworth will inflate his value with a high batting average thanks to a couple of hot months and Hairston will fill in effectively at LF, CF, RF, and 2B. Near season’s end he’ll rotate through the positions, playing 4 out of every 5 days, and lead off. It allows him to get 350 at-bats, steal 25 bases, and put up an un-Cub-like .370 OBP. He is seen as the second coming of Bob Dernier.
5) Aramis Ramirez will hit 40 homers. Ron Santo will fall in love with him the same way he fell in love with Gary Scott and spend time tutoring him on the finer points of defense. His range will increase.
6) Nomar Garciaparra, happy in Chicago and healthy again, will put up a .350/.385/.525 line and return to the offensive force he was in his mid-twenties.
7) Carlos Zambrano will establish himself as a Cy Young Award winner.
8) Greg Maddux and Michael Barrett will become roommates on the road. Their close proximity allows Maddux to work with him and trust him. Maddux lets Barrett catch for him. Happiness rains down upon them both and they get tattoos of each other on their ankles. Maddux’s will get infected and, like Schilling during the ALCS last year, we’ll see blood seeping onto his sock during a crucial game in September.
9) Corey Patterson will show considerable growth by only striking out 125 times. His .290 BA pushes his OBP into .345 range, making him bearable as an everyday player, but the world will say his combination of 31 stolen bases and 27 homers are the reason the Cubs are good.
10) Ronnie “Woo-Woo” Wickers will lose his voice once and for all. The ensuing peace will allow the Cubs to better concentrate during home games, allowing them to go 52-29 at home. Their 44-37 road record will give them 96 wins, edging the Cards by a single game.
The playoffs go like this:
Stomp the Dodgers in 4, Crush the Braves in 5, Obliterate the Yanks in 4! CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN!
And why not? 1 for 28 is lookin’ pretty good right now.