Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy Opening Day and Fearless Seattle Mariner Predictions

I'll call today the real opening day for two reasons:  One, because our beloved Mariners finally take the field of course.  Two, because MLB just doesn't know how to throw a party, and they do this every year, scheduling just a handful of games to roll out the season.

Don't get me wrong, yesterday was exciting, but just not "dazzling" in the way that it could be, uniting baseball fans across the nation(s). And despite the fact that the M's are projected by most prognosticators to finish last in the division, it's still an exciting day.  I'm excited. Are you excited? I know you are.

So with all this excitement welling up in my cockles - even the sub-cockles - I give to you my fearless Seattle Mariner Predictions:

Standings: Mariners will finish 1st in the division, that's right, FIRST - but with just 85 wins. All AL West teams struggle to stay over .500 and no single team has a strangle hold on the division until the last week of the season.  Texas becomes the 1996 version of the Seattle Mariners where they're all bat, no pitch, and while they get chicks all aflutter with the longball, Texas winds up leading the league in runs allowed. Anaheim can't complete the Scott Kazmir reclamation project and Fernando Rodney is out as closer by mid-year due to his Bobby Ayala impersonation. Jered Weaver and Dan Haren both are dominant, but their secondary pitching options just don't materialize and injuries to Toriiiiiii Hunter, Bobby Abreu and Kendrys Morales are too difficult to overcome. The Athletics actually finish 2nd and I don't want to talk about them any more than I have to.

Eric Bedard wins comeback player of the year, managing 28 starts, winning 14 of them, and having an ERA just north of 3.  He signs multi-year contract with Yankees in the offseason (ahem...sorry).

Felix Hernandez goes on to win 18 games but is bested by Justin Verlander in the Cy Young voting.

Justin Smoak will post a line of .268/28/84 and there will be much rejoicing. He finally shows more than just flashes of that on-base percentage and power machine that everyone was hoping for, and he plays a plus defense at first as well, all adding up to a 4 wins above replacement season.  Girls in the right field bleachers called "Smoakies" come dressed as cigarettes with his number on the filter and the Safeco staff has their first family-friendly controversy on their hand.

Chone Figgins will hit .296 with 85 runs scored and steal 41 bases, play great defense at 3rd, and make everyone happy he'll be around for two more years.

Milton Bradley will play in 142 games, batting .278 with 19 HR and 82 RBI. There's not a single off-field incident to report, although he is thrown out of two games and actually suspended for three for making fun of Tim Tschida's man-boobs.

Adam Moore will emerge as the preferred catcher by the end of May, ultimately hitting .265 with 14 HR and 52 RBI and the M's are fielding offers for Miguel Olivo at the deadline.

Jack Cust will be Jack Cust, and benefit nicely from the right field at SafeCo and post a .245/26/85 line despite striking out 38% of the time.

David Aardsma returns from hip surgery to save 30 games.

Tom Wilhelmsen is lights-out and sells the rights to Warner Bros. to make a movie out of his life for $3 million. Charlie Sheen asks to play Wilhelmsen, but is turned down.

Ichiro has his first season batting under .300, but makes up for it by hitting 18 home runs and stealing 35 bases.

Lastly, Eric Wedge shaves his mustache, honoring the wager that if the Mariners win the division, he'll get rid of that ugly thing.  Ichiro does the honors.  When the Mariners lose in the ALDS to the Twins, everyone will cite the lucky mustache.

Here we go, folks.  Go Mariners.

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