Hateability of MLB Teams, Ranked

Peace Out, Bro

This is the most scientifically-backed, well-researched, completely-defensible, not-even-remotely-biased, totally-objective ranking of the most hateable teams in MLB.*

30. Pirates
29. Padres
28. Twins
27. Royals
26. Astros
25. Rays
24. Blue Jays
23. Mariners**
22. Athletics
21. Brewers
20. Rockies
19. Orioles
18. Reds
17. Diamondbacks
16. Indians
15. Rangers
14. Marlins
13. Nationals
12. White Sox
11. Angels
10. Cubs
09. Tigers
08. Mets
07. Giants
06. Braves
05. Phillies
04. Dodgers
03. Cardinals
02. Red Sox
01. Yankees

*Yeah, that’s pretty much all bullshit. This list is totally biased and penalizes big market teams and teams with lots of recent success. It also ranks the White Sox much harsher than necessary, because fuck the White Sox.

**The Mariners were moved three spots higher than I’d originally intended simply because Fernando Rodney is still on their roster and that guy really grinds my gears.

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Whacky weekend.

It was a weekend of some highs, some disappointments, some lows, and dab of completely outrageous.

The highs: The ALMS had their final running of the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta, and it was, as always, an epic race. Rebellion Racing pulled out a solid win after powerhouse Muscle Milk had to retire with overheating issues. As always though, the real race was in GT, with the Porsche of Team Falken Tire clawing their way up from starting in 6th to take the win.

Some disappointments: My favorite series, the FIA World Endurance Championship was in Japan for the 6 Hours of Fuji. Alas, it was a race that was never meant to be. Horrendous rain storms caused the race to be started under safety car conditions, and then was red flagged after only 8 laps. Then, after sitting on the grid for two solid hours, they tried again, running under safety car, but only managed another 7 laps before waving the red flag again. After another hour of idling, they gave it one more try under safety car, did one lap, and then called the race off. I feel so bad for the fans in Japan that came out, only to sit through a deluge and then have the race canceled.

Some lows:  MotoGP’s tire suppliers dropped the ball this weekend. The Australian Grand Prix track had been repaved with a new asphalt that was, in theory, supposed to be a grippier surface. Unfortunately, no one at Bridgestone bothered to think, “Hey. Maybe we should run some tests with our tires on this new kind of asphalt that no one has ever had a MotoGP race on before!” As a result, teams quickly realized that their tires didn’t stand a chance of lasting the whole race, and the organizers ended up lowering the number of laps and forced the riders to change bikes in the middle of the race so as to not wear down their tires too much. What a farce.

Completely outrageous: Think road rage only happens on public roads between civilian drivers?

Think again:

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You’re overanalyzing it. Really.

I’ve been seeing a lot in the press lately about how fans are booing Sebastian Vettel when he gets up onto the podium after winning a race. I’ve also been seeing a lot in the press about how this is extremely unfortunate and bad for the sport. Many reporters are going into incredibly long-winded explanations about what they think the root of the booing is: fans are bored with the same person winning every race; fans hate Red Bull; fans think Red Bull is cheating; fans hate the way Vettel puts up his index finger to show he’s Number One.

These are all fine and good, and many journalists make quite compelling arguments that are very convincing. But they’re all wrong, and totally miss the point.

Vettel was a douchebag in Malaysia, so the fans boo him now. Plain and simple.

There is no conspiracy here. There is no grandiose nor intricately detailed plot that the fans are upset about. At the Grand Prix of Malaysia, which was the second race of a nineteen race season, Red Bull was running one-two, with Mark Webber in the lead. Knowing that they had a long season ahead of them, and knowing that they have a budget and a very limited number of engines they are permitted to use in a season, the team principle, seeing that Red Bull had an overwhelming lead, made the call that both drivers should turn down their engines, drive conservatively, remain in their current positions, and bring the cars home with limited wear and tear. Mark Webber obeyed those orders. Sebastian Vettel did not. Vettel decided to completely ignore the team orders and drove for the win, nearly colliding with Webber at one point. The tension after the race was palpable, and Red Bull found themselves doing damage control for several weeks in the press.

Fast forward a few months and Vettel is winning race after race. His lead in the championship standings is overwhelming. He has the title all but wrapped up. He knew that he had the best car in the fleet this year: Mercedes had endless tire problems until their questionable test with Pirelli; McLaren forgot how to make a fast car; Ferrari only has one driver who is competitive. He knew all this at the beginning of the season, and yet still decided that he would ignore the team’s orders and endanger his teammate and both team cars to get the win at Malaysia.

I understand that F1 drivers drive to win. I understand that they are cocky. I understand that, in their minds, they are the best driver in the world and should never be told to “hang back and let the other guy win”.

But guess what?

The fans don’t care. All they saw was one of the douchiest maneuvers in F1 history, and as a result, they now boo when the villain takes the stage.

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In other news.

Well, at least Vettel didn’t get yet another Grand Chelem. But he does have five wins in a row now, and has the championship all but wrapped up. Boring.

In other news, however, the Bathurst 1000 once again proved to be an absolutely EPIC race, with Mark Winterbottom and Jamie Whincup engaged in a tooth and nail battle lasting the final 60 LAPS, where they were never separated by more than two seconds at any point during any lap. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen more people on the edges of their seats for a longer period of time in my entire life. Someday, I’m gonna get to see that race in person…

Coming up this next weekend: 6 Hours of Fuji! Time to watch some spaceships on wheels.

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V8s on the Mount

Once again, the time approaches for the Bathurst 1000. V8 Supercars, Australia’s equivalent of NASCAR, both in popularity and noise, but different in that they make both left AND right turns, returns to Mount Panorama this weekend for a 1000km romp on one of the most insane tracks on the planet.

23 turns. Check.

6km per lap. Check.

Just over 174 meters in elevation change. Che… WHAT??

For those of you still stuck in the antiquated Imperial measurement system, that’s a 3.8 mile track with almost 600 feet in elevation change. They are literally driving up the side of a mountain, and then back down again. Add in several blind corners and tricky braking zones, and you’re in for one hell of a ride:

What’s even better this year is the return of Nissan and Erebus Motorsport to the ranks, which will make for more eye candy. For donkey’s years, the only two manufacturers in the series were Ford and Holden. Next year, it gets even better when Mercedes-Benz joins the fray, which should be interesting considering their already considerable expenditures and experience in DTM.

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…and again.

I ended up being pretty close to the mark, as the final results were: VET, RAI, GRO.

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I learned a new phrase because of this race: Grand Chelem. This is the racing equivalent of a hat trick or grand slam. Vettel’s performance was so dominant that he not only got pole position, but he had the fastest lap of the race, led every lap, and won.

And this is the second time this season he’s done that. Jeebus.

What really has me tickled, though, is the guy in the #4 spot. Hulkenberg continues to show that he is a world champion class driver. Now if only one of the top constructors would hire him…

In other news, we got reminded again this weekend of just how dangerous motorsport can be. Both IndyCar and ALMS had nasty crashes this weekend:

Nobody got hurt at ALMS, but several spectators and the driver (Dario Franchitti) were pretty badly roughed up at IndyCar. Here’s hoping that Dario and all the fans make a speedy recovery.

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Vettel on top. …again.

Another Grand Prix. Another pole position for Sebastian Vettel.

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I mean, I get it: the guy is at the peak of his abilities, and he’s driving a car that has been engineered to within an inch of its life. But this crap is getting boring, because another pole for VET basically means another win for him. His pace is so phenomenal that no one else has a prayer of catching him. Unless Hamilton gets a better start when the red lights go off, and manages to hold VET up for a few corners, this race is as good as done from the first lap.

In other news, it’s good to see Hulkenberg getting into the top 10 again. I honestly believe that Ferrari made a mistake going back to Raikkonen and passing over Hulk in the process. Don’t get me wrong: I think RAI is an amazing driver, and I think he’ll have a great year next year, but Hulk is an up and coming driver with amazing potential. I mean, seriously, look what the guy is doing with what could be argued as a back-marker car?

My prediction for the podium on Sunday: VET, ALO, RAI. In that order.

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About that NASCAR comment…

Oval racing is, in fact, really hard. Staying on full throttle for that long is exhausting and mentally draining for even the best of drivers.

But lawdy, is it boring to watch. (To me at any rate.)

However, I’ll make an exception for these guys, who decided to ditch the massive, 2+ mile long oval speedways, in favor of a banked version of your standard issue high school track and field oval:

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So first things first…

Graves said he wanted me to write stuff about cars on here.

Now, I’m not a “car guy” in the truest sense of the word. I have never torn apart and reassembled an engine. I have never owned a muscle car. I find it exhausting talking about whatever exotic car is on everybody’s wish list because, seriously, how many of us will really ever own one? I can almost always identify the make and model of a car on sight, but hell if I can tell you what year or chassis number it is.

What I DO like, and most likely why Graves asked me to write stuff about cars here –of all places– is MOTORSPORT. I absolutely love watching, listening to, and reading about motorsport. Any of the various formulas, any of the endurance championships, any of the myriad touring car series, any of those crazy kids who race on two wheels, any of GT battles: I think it’s the best sport on earth.

Except NASCAR. Nobody likes NASCAR.

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2013 MLB Preseason Predictions

mlbpredictions
It’s Opening Night in Major League Baseball and that means I’ve got just enough time to submit my preseason predictions before I look like a total slacker.

You’ve all read about 10,000 of these by now, so there’s no real reason for me to get into what it’s all about. It’s just a big ole crapshoot and that’s the fun of preseason predictions.

Give ‘em a read and feel free to let me know how wrong I am in the comments.

2013 Predictions

2013 Predictions - Individual Awards

Have a great season everybody!

Posted in Awards, Baseball, Cheap Seat Chronicles, Cy Young, MLB, MVP, Playoffs, Predictions, Rookie of the Year | Leave a comment

It’s My Time to Shine (Against Adolescents)

One of these things is not like the others. One of these things just doesn’t belong.

I think I’m going to play in the Little League World Series.

Now I realize that there are “technically” some age limitations that will prevent me from doing so, but if the California team can get away with running Bradley Smith out there every game and parading him as a “13-year-old,” I can sure as hell get in the game.

The dude is 6’3″ and weighs 183 pounds. I’m 6’3″ and weigh 180 pounds.

Given that I’ve got this awful new haircut that makes me look like a cross between He-Man and the kid on the Dutch Boy paint cans and I’ve already got the body of a 13-year-old boy; it would seem that all I need to do is shave off my super-manly beard and I could totally pass as a “big for his age” 13-year-old and get into this tournament.

Does anyone know if Iowa is eliminated yet? I think it’s time they call in a ringer.

I guess my only real concern is that I might get completely schooled by some of these 13-year-old pitchers.

I’ve been playing slow pitch softball for nearly a decade now. The last time I swung at any real, live baseball pitching was when I tried out for the Minnesota State baseball team my junior year.

(Blogger’s Note: I crushed it that day, by the way. Just ripping line drives all over the field like you read about.)

Maybe I should hit the batting cages before I go jumping into the game on this one.

I don’t doubt that my defense still plays well enough to hang with these little leaguers, but is there anything more embarrassing than going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts and a weak pop-up to the 13-year-old on the mound?

I think not.

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An Open Letter to Terry Ryan

Dear Terry Ryan-

I see that you’re contemplating the merits of trading Denard Span to the Cincinnati Reds.

Before you do anything else on the trade market, I’d like to reiterate that Span is one of the few legitimately movable, legitimately valuable trade pieces we have on this team right now. He’s also young enough that he could be a part of the next good Twins team.

With that in mind, if/when you decide to move him…DO NOT F*CK IT UP!!

Sincerely,
Every Twins Fan

PS: Can we get re-dos on all of the Bill Smith era trades?

PPS: Do not under any circumstance get gamed by another GM if/when you move Willingham or the fans will rise up and burn Target Field to the ground.

PPPS: All will be forgiven if you work a trade to bring Lew Ford back to Minnesota.

Posted in AL Central, Cincinnati Reds, Denard Span, Minnesota Twins, MLB, MLB Trades, Trade Deadline, Trade Rumors | Leave a comment

Boston Red Sox Suffer Biggest Loss in November

My Faithful Readers, I come to you today with a heavy heart.

I’ve just received some news that can only be described as devastating, heart-breaking, gut-wrenching and/or super-duper sucky.

Boston’s blonde bombshell of baseball, Heidi Watney has officially parted ways with NESN.

Watney, whose contract expired at the end of the 2011 season, is leaving to work for Time Warner Cable in California. Heidi will work as a sideline reporter for telecasts of Lakers games, beginning with the 2012-13 season (assuming the NBA isn’t still embroiled in a lockout by then).

It’s hard to blame Heidi for leaving. She is originally from southern California and has a lot of history there.

In 2002, she competed in the Miss California pageant, where she was the first runner-up. She attended the University of San Diego on an academic scholarship, where she graduated with honors in 2003. Oh yeah, she was a National Merit Scholar too.

That’s right folks not only is Heidi gorgeous, but she’s all-kinds of smart and knows baseball. Let’s pretend any of us stood a chance trying not to fall in love with this gal.

I’ll always remember our time together, Heidi, and I’ll never forget the words you said to me that day on the field:

Cap’n Charisma: “Heidi, can I get your autograph?”
Heidi Watney: “You know I don’t play baseball, right?!”

Or what you said to me later that day in your security-protected parking garage:

Cap’n Charisma: “Heidi, will you marry me?!”
Heidi Watney: “Holy hell, how did you get in here?”
Cap’n Charisma: “…in where, your heart?!”
Heidi Watney: “No, my parking garage you psycho! I’ve got pepper-spray!”
Cap’n Charisma: “…and I’ve got more love than my heart can handle!”
Heidi Watney: “SECURITY!! SECURITY!! SECURITY!!”

Ahhhh…memories.

I’ll miss you Heidi. Restraining order notwithstanding, I hope to see you again soon. Very, very soon.

Continue reading

Posted in AL East, American League, Baseball, Boston Red Sox, Cheap Seat Chronicles, Heidi Watney, MLB | Leave a comment

I Almost Died Today…Maybe

It is entirely possible that I’m being just a tad hyperbolic, but let’s make one thing perfectly clear folks, Bostonians—especially those shell-shocked by an unanticipated collapse in an athletic endeavor—are a fragile group of people.

Last night, as many of you know, the Boston Red Sox put the finishing touches on an epic choke job as they pissed away the last of a seemingly insurmountable nine game lead in the American League Wild Card race by losing—in heart-breaking fashion, I might add—to the lowly Baltimore Orioles.

About ten minutes, give or take, later the upstart Tampa Bay Rays propelled themselves into the postseason—in place of the aforementioned Red Sox—when Evan (NOT Eva) Longoria ripped a home run over the left field fence to win the game.

The Red Sox, who were deemed by many—this guy included—to be the favorites to win the World Series back in Spring Training and throughout much of the regular season, will be watching the playoffs from their multi-million dollar palatial estates…just like the rest of us.

If one took ten seconds late last night or early this morning to check in with sports talk radio, various online message boards and/or legitimate media presences in the Boston area, they’d have learned one very clear lesson…folks are not handling this loss well.

The fine folks at Boston.com have opened up a free(ish)—thankfully they do edit what gets published—forum for fans to “Rip the Red Sox” following the collapse and things have covered pretty much the entire spectrum of human emotion ranging from…

Note: All of these responses are reproduced in all of their typotastic, grammar-lacking glory or [SIC] if you prefer some professionalism around here.

…the downright logical:

“The Red Sox did not do well. That is unfortunate.” – Stephen – Boston

…to the simply upset:

“Poor decisions made by the front office! Drew, Lackey, Crawford? None worth HALF the money thrown at them. How can homegrown gamers like Youk and Pedroia get peanuts while these 3 clowns get piad handsomely. Poor, poor decisions by Theo.” – Drucker – Boston

…to the shortsighted and reactionary:

“I hope to never see Carl Crawford in a Red Sox uniform again.” – Ashley – Boston

…to the delusional:

“This team lacks starting pitching, guts, and athletes who are willing to trim down and man up (see: Youk). Injuries are not bad luck; get in shape, tubby! Don’t blame Theo or Tito. Even Ellsbury, with his talent, was not a smart baserunner. He should have a much higher steals percentage. I have to admit that I missed the days when they found magical ways to break our hearts. Now if they win one, we’ll really appreciate it!” – Brian – Rochester, NY

…to the overly dramatic (and wordy):

“To the Red Sox Staff: This is worse than the Buckner tragedy: that was ‘Shock and Awe’. This was not just another “Oh no, not again?” late fall moment, it was ‘Disgust and Outrage’. We saw this fall into the abyss coming so fast and drastically in September that it was surreal. This was like the McNamara, Houk, and Williams days of leaving the pitchers in TOO long (Terry: Again, what were you thinking?). This was beyond any low in our generation, because our expectations were earned high early on from good work, and the incredible, insulting demeanor of play (by most players) is so unforgiving by the fans. I’d rather watch College, or little league Baseball, where there is real heart presented. We could not see the heart on their faces because they gave up. Millions and Millions of my insanely high ticket prices wasted on low grade, poorly managed talent. What I make in a year of hard work, they make in a day. I actually took the Red Sox license plate holder off of my car at 5AM this morning, because I’m so beyond disappointed. What happened to the leadership that managers, coaches, and players need to get motivated? I can’t wait for spring time to tune the Sox out, shut off the radio, turn off NESN, not go to the new Spring Training park, and most definitely not support your advertisers (gee: maybe then you’ll get it.). Mr. Henry: This stinks like Pepe LePew. Heads need to roll out of Beantown big time. Please bring on some fresh leadership, better managers, and young aggressive beef. Oh well: You’ve lost a lifelong fan now.” – Bob Belliveau – Naples, FL

…to the petty and pathetic:

“The Yankees Are To Fault – Where was RIVERA?? The League should fine them & GIRADI should be suspended for holding back. They didn’t play their best.” – Bill Kremer – Boston

…to the just plain stupid:

“Terry: thank for the memories. Theo: thanks for the mess that will take 10 years to clean up. Now both of you hit the road.” – Ian Roffley – Boston

…to the uninformed and half-assed:

“Adrian G’s lack of passion & heart contaminated the whole team.” – Chuck Keefe – South Boston

…to the bat-shit crazy:

“LOOOOSSSAAAAAA’S!!!!! An old quote kept ringing in my ears as this team died a long slow death – “They killed my father and now they are going to kill me”! I thought those days were over but I guess not! Sadly – looking forward it does not look much brighter! After 6 months and 161.9 games, they couldn’t manage to get out of Baltimore – Fricken Baltimore!!!! with a win! Fire’em all!!! Tito – Theo – and company. I would rather watch a Triple-A team next year than watch these heartless, no playing, overpaid, under performing, pathetic examples of athletes play again!!!!!! Keep PD and Elles and the kids and dump all of the high priced fat lazy “veterans”. AAAAUUUUGGGGHHHH!!!” – Jim – Somerset, MA

Now let us not forget, that’s just the ones that they’d allow to be published. Between talk radio and the far less, um, “mandated” message boards the reactions were downright frightening. Many (read: way too many) fans were legitimately calling for violence and using so many curse words that I feel just a little bit like going to church today.

Despite all of this evidence of “super rage” griping the city, it didn’t really dawn on me this morning that I might want to put some real thought into my wardrobe decision for the day. As such, I reached into my top drawer (read: my baseball shirts drawer) and pulled out my old school purple Tampa Bay Devil Rays t-shirt and slipped it on.

I finished getting ready for the day and was just about to head out the door when I caught a quick glimpse of myself in the full-length mirror in our bedroom as I walked by. It was then that I realized I what I was wearing.

Back in 2008, I was innocently wearing this shirt and without thought wore it to a game at Fenway with my best friend who happened to be in town at the time, John Kunkel, esquire.

Perhaps y’all recall 2008? It was the year that the newly-christened “Rays” toppled the Red Sox to take the AL East crown and went on to face the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.

Well, I got booed that night at Fenway…by an entire section of fans (all led by Mr. Kunkel) for simply wearing the shirt. At the time, Red Sox fans weren’t even taking the Rays all that seriously. They still viewed them as “that minor league team we play down in Florida.” Despite that fact, an entire section of Red Sox fans had no problem booing my face off and screaming an unpleasant chorus of obscenities.

…that was when both teams made the playoffs and no one really cared about the Rays.

This morning the Red Sox are done for the season and the Rays are headed to the playoffs…again.

Luckily, I caught myself, but that shit could have been deadly. Thanks to Twitter, message boards, sports radio and the aforementioned “publishable” Boston.com responses I’m operating under the assumption that there are large, inconsolable, irrational hordes of unstable Red Sox fans just roaming the streets BEGGING for a fight right now.

I assume they’ll be out there until the Patriots kick off on Sunday and they can all forget baseball exists again until March.

…until then, I’m thinking nothing but neutral colors without logos of any sort is a good idea for my wardrobe.

You know, just in case.

Posted in AL East, American League, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Cheap Seat Chronicles, MLB, Playoffs, Tampa Bay Rays | Leave a comment

2011 MLB Predictions

Many of you may not know this, but it’s actually a federal requirement for all baseball bloggers to post their misguided preseason predictions.

Okay, it’s entirely possible that there’s zero truth to that, but this is the one time a year when any ole blogger can feel right on par with the big boys in the baseball writing business and make a bunch of wild guesses based on such important factors as “intuition” and “coin tosses.”

My predictions from last year were—ahem—less-than-good, but that’s the nature of the beast with preseason predictions.

Ask any handful of people and most would have had the Philadelphia Phillies winning the whole thing two months ago. Nowadays the Boston Red Sox are the hot-to-trot team. Last year it was the aforementioned Phillies and New York Yankees in the driver’s seat.

In the end, the World Series featured the San Francisco Giants toppling the Texas Rangers. It’s all a crapshoot and that’s most of the fun.

Last year, I only predicted two division winners correctly (Philadelphia and Minnesota) and only four playoff teams (Philly, Minnesota, New York and San Francisco). This year, I’m going with less of my special intuition and going more on what the rosters look like and all that boring mumbo-jumbo.

Without any further ado, here are my undoubtedly incorrect 2011 MLB Predictions.

Regular Season

Playoffs

National League Play-In Game
Atlanta Braves over Cincinnati Reds

American League Division Series
Boston Red Sox over Chicago White Sox (3-1)
Oakland Athletics over New York Yankees (3-2)

National League Division Series
Milwaukee Brewers over Atlanta Braves (3-1)
Philadelphia Phillies over Colorado Rockies (3-2)

American League Championship Series
Boston Red Sox over Oakland Athletics (4-2)

National League Championship Series
Milwaukee Brewers over Philadelphia Phillies (4-3)

World Series
Boston Red Sox over Milwaukee Brewers (4-2)

So there you have it, folks…the Red Sox will topple the revamped Brew-Crew in Prince Fielder’s final season in the Milwaukee before he moves on to make big bucks elsewhere and breaks the hearts of Brewers fans and stadium vendors all over the Cheese State.

Just a note for those of you calling up your bookie right now, I want to make it clear that the incredibly scientific method of “flipping a coin” may or may not have been used heavily in making these decisions. Granted, I’m like 83% sure that this is exactly how things will turn out, so feel free to drop some big bucks based on these predictions.

While we’re at it, let’s take a stab at how the regular season awards will pan out.

Regular Season Award Winners

American League MVP: Adrian Gonzalez (BOS – 1B)
National League MVP: Ryan Zimmerman (WAS – 3B)

American League ROY: Mike Moustakas (KC – 3B)
National League ROY: Freddie Freeman (ATL – 1B)

American League Cy Young: Jon Lester (BOS – SP)
National League Cy Young: Cole Hamels (PHI – SP)

American League Manager of the Year: Bob Geren (Oakland)
National League Manager of the Year: Ron Roenicke (Milwaukee)

Once again, feel free to place your life savings and/or first-born child on any betting table as long as you’re rolling with my predictions. My prognosticationalization skills are top-notch, baby…top-notch.

Posted in AL Central, AL East, AL West, American League, Awards, Baseball, Cheap Seat Chronicles, Cy Young, Manager of the Year, MLB, MVP, National League, NL Central, NL East, NL West, Playoffs, Predictions, Projections, Rookie of the Year, World Series | 4 Comments