Living in Cincinnati means that today is a holiday. Opening Day starts every year with a parade followed by the Reds playing a home game against another NL team. Tomorrow, that team will be the New York Mets.
So I guess I must put up some sort of predicitions for the upcoming season:
I like the Mets -- I do -- but I cannot shake the memory of the past two Septembers. Philly seems to be the mentally stronger team. I love the Marlins as a darkhorse in this race. I love the way the franchise is run and kinda hope the Reds would work it the same way.
I don't think this race will be close again. Chicago is easily the best of the bunch. The Cardinals always show up; Milwaukee still has nice offensive weapons but lost a lot of pitching. The Reds are everyone's darkhorse team in this division, but I think they are a year away from that. My darkhorse is Houston just because no one seems to expect anything from them.
Getting Manny Ramirez back clinches the division for the Dodgers. They really aren't a great team, but this division blows. Arizona should challenge for the division title and/or a wildcard spot. The darkhorse team is the Giants. The only reason anyone will pay attention to San Diego is because of the eventual trade of Jake Peavy.
I hate the Yankees, but this team did what it had to in order to get back to the World Series. They have built an outstanding pitching staff and have plenty of offense to supplement it. Boston is hard-nosed and will be right there until the end. I'm not one of those people who think Tampa will fall off the face of the Earth, but they didn't improve the way that the Yankees and Red Sox did.
This Cleveland team has so many weapons and has a great shot to get to the World Series. No matter what, I never underestimate the Twins, so I have them in the hunt. Maybe this is the year the Tigers meet expectations?
The Angels remain the class of this division. I expect both Oakland and Texas to make a run at LA of A for the crown, but the Angels just have too much.