Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Holt: A few MLB predictions

Smell that? Of course you don’t, because it only remotely feels like spring, a trend that began yesterday and ends tonight as it begins to rain or snow, or both, according to the Weather Channel.

But much like the girls going out on the weekend who dress according to what the calendar says, rather than what the thermometer says, the date dictates that baseball begins today, regardless of the climate. And so it shall, with Atlanta and Washington kicking off the 2011 Major League Baseball season.

So to buck a two-column trend of Badger-related gloom and pessimism, here are a few outlandish – but remotely possible, and certainly entertaining – MLB predictions, which may get progressively sillier as they go on. You have been warned.


There is no All Star Game

Last year, some organizations, like Daily Kos and, as well as two U.S. congressmen, called for a boycott of the 2011 All Star game.

This year’s Midsummer Classic will be played in Phoenix, which is significant in two ways. First, Arizona passed strict laws last year to crack down on illegal immigrants. Second, according to, 27.7 percent of major leaguers are Latinos.

So do this year’s Latino all-stars take a stand against laws that can be viewed as racial profiling? Kansas City closer Joakim Soria might be the only Mexican all star this year, but do fellow Latinos Albert Pujols or Mariano Rivera or Hanley Ramirez take a stand in a gesture of solidarity? Solidarity does seem to be trending nationwide. Maybe the rest of the players agree, or even commissioner Bud Selig makes a statement.

With an already heated political atmosphere, let’s go ahead and pencil in a boycott. As much as the players would hate to give up the chance for a meaningless at-bat or two, I’m sure the opportunity to have a less-frantic all star break while also speaking to social justice sounds a bit sweeter.

Philly’s rotation dream cut short

All those rumblings of how Philadelphia’s rotation could be the best ever should be tempered. Maybe Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Joe Blanton could be the best rotation in recent memory.

Or maybe they don’t get the chance.

Any combination of three of those five would make up a staff any team would want. Everyone but Blanton could be a No. 1 starter on many teams. Therefore, any individual pitcher on that staff is expendable. And the Phillies will indulge that luxury.

Brade Lidge is out for three to six weeks with a rotator cuff tear – the third time in four years he begins the season on the disabled list. More importantly, Chase Utley is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

Last season, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Placido Polanco and Shane Victorino all spent time on the DL. Aside from the aforementioned six players all being very important parts of this team, they are also all over the age of 30. Players tend to become bigger injury risks and also take longer to heal as they age. And now Howard doesn’t have Jayson Werth protecting him in the lineup.

Chances are, depending on Utley’s timetable for return and if the Phillies are even half as bitten by injuries as they were last year, Philadelphia will need another starting-quality bat, or maybe a closer.

With the abundance of riches the Phillies have in their rotation, look for any of the three not named Halladay or Lee to be dealt for an impact offensive player – and before the all star break.

That other rotation

No, not C.C. Sabathia and those four other forgettable guys. The World Series defending champion San Francisco Giants.

Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Jonathan Sanchez team with Barry Zito to form a mostly-young rotation. And with all those postseason games the 20-somethings also pitched, all reached career-highs in innings pitched.

Timmy might be able to pound down a formidable amount of In-N-Out burgers, but is his arm going to hang on all season? Count on two of San Francisco’s young guns – I say Bumgarner and Lincecum – to become intimate with the disabled list this season, much to the joy of Rockies fans.

A few improbable scenarios

Joe Mauer hits .401 after going 6-for-7 on the last day of the season in an extra-innings game against the White Sox to decide the American League Central. Due to a quad injury in mid-June, Mauer is shelved for three weeks, helping to keep him fresh for a post-all star break tear where he hits .467 after July 20.

Derek Jeter gets his 3,000th hit in a July 10 game against the Rays. Because the players decide to boycott the All Star game, ESPN and FOX band together to fill the break with 13 different features covering Jeter’s best moments – including a montage of every single hit the shortstop has collected in his career. Even Jeter finds the homage sickening, prompting him to take a two-week mental health leave to reassess his life.

Also, Miguel Cabrera manages to play in a day game while still inebriated, going 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI, despite never being lucid enough to know what the count is. The Chicago Cubs’ television marketing campaign through early August will focus on how the Cubs are not yet mathematically eliminated from the playoffs; then it will focus on Wrigley Field’s food. The Yankees miss the playoffs, Felix Hernandez posts a 0.78 ERA and the Pittsburgh Pirates finish a game above .500.

Well, maybe not that last one; I wouldn’t want to get too crazy.

Adam is a senior majoring in journalism. Glad baseball’s back? Got a take on this season? Email him at [email protected] or Tweet @adamjsholt.

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