Baseball has a meaning all on its own, but everyone’s meaning is not the same. For example, baseball to a wife may mean that her husband will be watching TV for about eight months straight and she knows her honey do list will not happen.
My fondest memories of baseball was growing up and watching it with my grandfather. We would sit and watch all the great baseball players of my childhood. We would talk endlessly about the numbers and stats of our favorite players. My grandfather loved the Atlanta Braves. He thought Hank Aaron was one of the greatest players of all time. When Chipper Jones made his MLB debut, my Grandfather was as giddy as a school boy because he had someone new and exciting to watch.
What senses does the word baseball trigger? What do you see? What do you feel? Can you hear the vendors yelling out “POPCORN!” as they walk down the stands? I know that NFL and College football have overtaken baseball as America’s favorite sporting event, but it will never be called America’s favorite pastime, which will always be reserved for baseball. There isn’t a more patriotic moment then standing at a baseball game and listening to 50,000 people sing the National Anthem (either to themselves or out loud). At the end you get to hear the umpire say the famous words “Play Ball.” What an awesome event it is to be part of! It gives me goose bumps as I’m thinking about it right now.
You guys know that I am born and raised right here in Tampa Bay. You know that I’m a DIEHARD Rays fan. In fact I was a fan when they were the Devil Rays and we would win 20 games a year, if that. I have sat at Tropicana field surrounded by Yankee and Red Sox fans while they were just beating the crap out of us each time. So I don’t want to hear that I just jumped on the bandwagon!
Rays have the best team in baseball this year and the highest payroll in the organizations history. I think it is about time someone should start making the case that Joe Maddon might be the greatest baseball manager of all time. He has taken teams with a quarter of the payroll of most MLB rosters to the World Series. They’ve been in contention or made the Playoffs the last 8 years. I still don’t know why the Red Sox or Yankees did not back a truck full of money in Maddon’s driveway. I am really looking forward to this season. Check out my 2014 MLB predictions below on what I believe will happen this year.
2014 MLB Predictions
AL East Predictions
1st Tampa Bay Rays – The consistently great Rays are the top team in the American League.
2nd Boston Red Sox – Can the defending world champs win back-to-back titles?
3rd New York Yankees – A big offseason spending spree will try to improve an aging Yankees roster.
4th Baltimore Orioles – A tough AL East could prove too much for Baltimore to handle.
5th Toronto Blue Jays – Durability issues and a lack of rotation depth could sink the Jays.
1st Detroit Tigers – The Tigers’ revamped offense and loaded staff will carry them far again.
2nd Kansas City Royals – Kansas City’s impressive young players will end the Royals’ playoff drought.
3rd Cleveland Indians – The Indians will be hard-pressed to repeat last year’s surprising season.
4th Chicago White Sox – Cuban import Jose Abreu faces a tall task in lifting the White Sox.
5th Minnesota Twins – The Twins’ rotation makeover won’t get them out of the AL Central basement. AL West Predictions
1st Oakland Athletics – The A’s remain the team to beat in the AL West.
2nd Texas Rangers – A strong lineup will need to make up for a ragged Rangers pitching staff.
3rd Los Angeles Angels – The best player in baseball, Mike Trout, tries to bring L.A. back into contention.
4th Seattle Mariners – Can Robinson Cano return respectability to the Pacific Northwest? It’ll be tough.
5th Houston Astros – Baseball’s worst team is taking steps toward a better tomorrow.
Wild card teams
Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox
American League Championship series
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Detroit Tigers – Winner in 6 games: Tampa Bay Rays
Regular Season MVP – Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays
Cy Young Award – David Price of the Tampa Bay Rays
NL East Predictions
1st Atlanta Braves – Every year they are not supposed to be good, and every year they are.
2nd Washington Nationals – Two superstars lead a Nationals team that’ll be a popular title pick.
3rd New York Mets – The Mets will use 2014 to prep themselves for 2015 and beyond.
4th Miami Marlins – Youth is the name of the game for a Miami team short on experience.
5th Philadelphia Phillies – Age and injury concerns will make for a long year in Philadelphia.
1st St. Louis Cardinals – The NL champs boast arguably the best and deepest roster in baseball.
2nd Cincinnati Reds – Cincinnati should push for the NL Central title and playoff contention.
3rd Pittsburgh Pirates – Can the Pirates keep rolling off of last year’s magical playoff run? I just don’t see it.
4th Milwaukee Brewers – Ryan Braun returns, but will that be enough to boost the Brewers?
5th Chicago Cubs – There’s a bright future on the North Side, but 2014 doesn’t look good. Have you heard that before as a Cubs Fan?
NL West Predictions
1st Los Angeles Dodgers — The game’s biggest payroll has created the league’s best team.
2nd San Francisco Giants – Expect a bounce back in the Bay Area for the Giants.
3rd San Diego Padres — San Diego’s young core should move them up in the NL West.
4th Arizona Diamondbacks – A quiet offseason could doom the Diamondbacks’ division hopes.
5th Colorado Rockies – The NL West cellar beckons to a limited Rockies team.
Wild card teams
Washington Nationals and San Francisco Giants
National League Championship series
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Washington Nationals – Winner in 5 games: Los Angeles Dodgers
Regular Season MVP – Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants
Cy Young Award – Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals
Winner in 6 games: Tampa Bay Rays
World Series MVP – Will Myers of the Tampa Bay Rays
Also, you’ll want to check out the Baseball Bat BBQ Butane Soft Flame Lighter that we just launched this week! This is no ordinary lighter as it’s perfect for a BBQ or as an addition to your novelty lighter collection if you’re a baseball fan. Plus, the large orange flame will not disappoint you. I promise you will not strike out with this one!
And I couldn’t end this blog without some baseball chicks…