How did I do on my predictions?

Last April Fools’ Day, I put together a list of 25 things that were absolutely guaranteed to happen during the 2008 season.  Except for the ones that didn’t.  Let’s see how I did.

1) Curt Schilling will write something in his blog on a slow news day, and it will be mildly controversial and people who know nothing about baseball will feel the need to comment on it. Hilarity will ensue.

Well, there was the whole thing where Schilling slammed Manny Ramirez.  The problem was that he did it during the whole Presidential election thing and that kinda dominated the news there for a few months.  Schilling also campaigned for John McCain, which was weird enough.  Verdict: Sorta.

2) Someone with a really good Pythagorean record (one better than one of the actual playoff teams) will miss out on the playoffs.

Here’s to the Toronto Blue Jays, whose 92.57 expected wins were fourth in baseball, nestled comfortably between third place Philadelphia and fifth place Tampa Bay.  The Dodgers didn’t make it to 87 wins on the Pythagorean method, but they did make the NLCS.  I once defined the Pythagorean theorem as an equation that shows that your favorite team was actually better than the team that is currently jumping on top of one another after winning the World Series.  And we can prove it.  Verdict: Got it.

3) People will spend a great deal of time arguing about whether Tim Raines or Jim Rice should be voted into the Hall of Fame, despite the fact that they do not have an actual HOF vote. These same people will not use the Presidential vote that they do have.

This one is something of an incomplete.  It’s not yet HOF time.  Although for what it’s worth, voting turnout was rather high this year.  Verdict: Eh…

4) Oakland will go through a rough year, since they’re re-building after several years of 90 wins or so. This, like everything else that Oakland does, will be cited as evidence that Moneyball doesn’t work.

Consider for a moment that it actually looked like the A’s might have a shot at the playoffs.  Billy Beane keeps making silk purses out of sows’ ears, not to be confused with Jeremy Sowers, mind you.  Verdict: I’m sure someone complained about Moneyball this year.  Nailed it!

5) The Chicago Cubs will win the World Series.� Oh did someone else already make that guarantee?

There are some things in the world that are simply pre-ordained.  Verdict: What the heck was I thinking?

6) Someone will swallow hard and sign Barry Bonds*.

I honestly thought it would happen, and from a purely baseball standpoint, I’m not sure why it didn’t.  I know why it did, but.  Verdict: Nope.

7) ESPN will ignore 60% of the teams in the AL East.  (Hopefully, for Chris Berman’s sake, they’ll at least show one Blue Jays game.)

Toward the end, it got kinda hard to ignore Tampa Bay.  But Toronto deserved better. And the “end of Yankee Stadium” special was way over the top. Verdict: Can I call it like 2/3 of a victory there?

8) The Scott Linebrink Award for the “setup guy” who had a really good season last year, and this year will be simply ordinary will go to Tony Pena.

Pena had a 4.33 ERA in 72.2 IP over 72 appearances.  Not bad.  Not great.  Verdict: I’m psychic. 

9) Speaking of Tony Pena, Tony Pena (the pitcher) will face Tony Pena (the shortstop) sometime during the weekend of 6/13-6/15 when the Royals pay a visit to Chase Field to take on the Diamondbacks.  Unfortunately, the Royals don’t also play the Brewers this year, so Ryan Braun won’t be able to face off against Ryan Braun.

Pena, the pitcher only threw once in that series, on the 13th and did not face Pena the shortstop, who didn’t play in that game.  Pena the SS played in the other two games of the series, once as a defensive replacement, the other as a pinch runner.  Verdict: Need to check that magic 8 ball again…

10) Hey, Devil Rays fans.  Finally performing that exorcism will put you over .500!

Well now… Next year, because Ra was the Egyptian sun god, Tampa Bay should just be the Tampa Bay ys.  Removed of all pagan references, they will win the 2009 World Series.  Verdict: Aww to the yeah.

11)  A-Rod will hit .350, hit 50 HR, drive in 130, lead the league in VORP, WARP, and HDXPIRF (well, maybe that last one was made up), carry an under-achieving team with an aging pitching staff and a bloated payroll to the playoffs, play a pretty good third base, somehow find time to steal 20 bases, donate $100,000 to an orphanage, save two kids from drowining, and hit a few game winning home runs. He will still be derided as an over-paid, self-absorbed jerk who can’t come through in the clutch.

He his .302, with “only” 35 HR and 103 RBIs.  He did lead the league in VORP and HDXPIRF, didn’t lead the Yankees to the playoffs (but he sure tried), played a decent enough third base, stole 18 bases (so close), and apparently had an affair with Madonna.  Verdict: He’s still an over-paid, self-absorbed jerk who can’t come through in the clutch.  In fact, guess who led the league in anti-clutchitude.

12)  Dane Cook will quietly receive a lifetime ban from baseball.� We here at StatSpeak hope that the emphasis is on the “quietly.”� While we’re at it, he will also receive a lifetime ban from acting.� And doing comedy.� And will be sent to Siberia.

Well, they kept the “There’s only one October” thing, but dropped Dane.  However, he’s not been completely exiled

13) Johan Santana will not win 20 games.� That’s OK, he’ll still be the best pitcher in baseball.  This will, however, prompt cries from New York that he was “totally not worth it.”

Santana won 16 games and outside of Tim Lincecum was the best pitcher in the NL.  The Mets collapsed (again), and somehow, he escaped blame.  Verdict: Got it?

14) B. J. Upton will amaze.

The problem with this one is that “amaze” is a subjective word.  Upton was one of those guys who looked like he had everything in place to become a super-duper-star this season.  And he had a good season and a really good post-season, but this probably doesn’t count as “amazing.”  Verdict: We all get a mulligan.

15)  The Washington Nationals will win the award for “Best Hat” and�”Best use of the letter W in a logo since Weezer.”� And maybe 65 games.

You have to admit.  It’s a nice hat.  Verdict: They won 59 games.

16) During the All-Star Game, Joe Buck and Tim McCarver will combine to say something so insanely stupid that it will become the Miss Teen South Carolina of 2008.� And they will continue along as if nothing had ever happened.� Most of America will as well because… sometimes it’s just better to leave some things alone, nod, and smile.

At some point during the 15-inning epic that was the All-Star Game, Tim McCarver, on a sac bunt (at an All-Star Game!) began mumbling something about kicking a field goal, and one of the things that you don’t want to do in football is take points off the board.  So what (whoever it was) just did was something akin to kicking a field goal.  Verdict: I can’t remember all of it because it was a) about 1:00 am when he said it and b) it was so insanely stupid that if I tried to remember it, blood would come shooting out my nose. 

And then Sarah Palin came along.

17) Someone will finally explain to me how it is that the Seattle Mariners, who have a bunch of Sabermetrically inclined bloggers as their fans can still do silly things like sign Jose Vidro, Richie Sexson, Adrian Beltre…

Still waiting on that one.  They did at least fire Bill Bavasi.  Verdict: Eh?

18) Mike Fast will do a Pitch F/X analysis on me and my 40 mph fastball.� Mike?� Where’d you go?

Mike?  Hello?  Verdict: 41 mph now, thank you very much.

19) The Boston Red Sox will win the World Series.

Is it funny to anyone else that the same people that the same people who were gooey eyed over the Red Sox when they were destiny’s darlings in 2004 were cheering against the Red Sox as they went up against destiny’s darlings in 2008?  Is it even funnier that I’m sorta condemning those people despite the fact that I did the same thing.  Verdict: Nope.

20) The Cleveland Indians will win the World Series.

[/objectivity] I was soooo hoping.  Verdict: Nope. [objectivity]

21) The New York Yankees will win the World Series. (Eventually, if I type enough of these, I’ll get one right.� The Kansas City Royals will… nevermind)

The two best days of the year are Opening Day and the day that the Yankees are eliminated.  Here’s one I’m happy to be wrong on!  Verdict: Nope.

22) The Braves will trade for Greg Maddux at the trading deadline as they try to win the NL East, reuniting the Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz trilogy of the mid-90s.

Greg Maddux was traded, but to the Dodgers.  It didn’t matter.  Glavine and Smoltz broke down and the Braves weren’t in the hunt for the NL East.  Verdict: Baseball is a game of sub-plots.  Unfortunately, this one didn’t work.  And the three of them together would have been like Shatner-Nimoy-Kelly in Star Trek V.  Sure, it’s great to see them all together, but they’re not exactly at the top of their game any more.

23) Baltimore will break their streak of fourth place finishes and will change things up by finishing last in the AL East.

Nailed it!  The Orioles were in the best division in baseball.  Except for them.  Verdict: True.

24) One of the Rookie of the Year awards will go to a Japanese pitcher.  The other will go to a random kid on the North Side of Chicago who has a broken arm and goes to a Cubs game and gets signed by the team… what?

Well, they haven’t been announced officially yet, but the ROY awards will go to Evan Longoria who is neither Japanese nor a pitcher, and to Geovany Soto… who is a random kid on the North Side of Chicago who seemingly showed up one day at a Cubs game… Verdict: Not bad.

25) Roger Clemens* will stay retired this year.� The whole year.� Please, Roger, for the good of the game, stay retired.

Clemens stayed out of baseball, although now he’s set a precedent and Curt Schilling is thinking about pulling a Roger next year, which brings us full circle.  Verdict: Got it! 

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