Monday, April 6, 2009

Ten predictions for the 2009 New York Yankees

This little blog venture of mine isn't quite a year old, as such, this will be the first opening day for River & Sunset. I figure now is as good a time as any to start a new tradition with 10 predictions for the 2009 New York Yankees. If any or all of these prognostications are correct, I will take complete credit for them. If not, I will say that prognostications are stupid.

1. Derek Jeter ain't dead yet - Talk about blasphemy, I was listening to a podcast this afternoon in which American hero Derek Jeter was said to be "Placido Polanco with four more homers" at this point in his career. How dare you. I, like many of you, lament Jeter's losing battle with Father Time -- my PeteAbe guest blog dealt with that very topic -- but I don't think he's falling off the statistical cliff just yet. Pencil our boy in for another one of those .310, 12 homer, 18 steal, 110 run-type seasons and just be glad we get another year of watching one of the great Yankees.

2. Hell, A-Rod ain't dead yet either - It'd be easy to mark off 2009 as a lost year for Alex Rodriguez, and I couldn't really blame you seeing as it's already been the longest one of his life. But understand this: A-Rod may be a douche, but he's a proud douche. This reality means he's going to do everything in his power to prove he isn't some product of a Dominican lab. That's why Sunday's report that he may be back in the lineup by late April is hardly surprising. He is dying to get back on that field, and that will likely mean good things for the Yankees. A lot of people will be surprised if he hits 40+ homers and gets MVP buzz this year. I won't be one of them.

3. The new Yankee Stadium will continue to torture me with Cotton Eyed Joey - I hate Cotton Eye Joey. I hate 1990s novelty pop hits (unless you're Skee-Lo, of course), I hate that people sitting around me get amped up by this abomination, I hate that stupid hat Joey wears. To further clarify my position, I straight-up hate Cotton Eyed Joey ... and I don't think I'm alone. Yet the Yankees have continued to trot out this tired eighth-inning bit for years now and I guarantee the little bastard will show up across the street on April 16. I may seriously do something about this. Mark my words.

4. Chien-Ming Wang will win 20 games - I don't understand why people don't have more love for the Wanger. Sure, he's not that strikeout guy you like and there was that pesky epic meltdown in the 2007 ALDS, but besides that this guy has been nothing less than the best Yankees' pitching farm product since Andrew Eugene Pettitte. I look for him to crack 20 victories for the first time this season, important since I have this nagging feeling Burnett and Joba may not combine to equal that figure.

5. Brett Gardner will stick around all season - If this were 10 or 15 years ago, Brett Gardner would never be getting this opportunity. This simply wouldn't have gone down on the watch of the Big Stein. But the poor old Boss isn't really with us in the tangible sense these days, and so it is that a guy who looks like your high school buddy who loved paint ball has come to man one of the most glamorous positions in sport. Lil Brett can run like hell and he can go get it in center. If he can figure out how to hit .270, he's going to be a big help to this team. I'm saying he pulls it off.

6. Premio Sausages won't taste quite as sweet at the new Stadium - Listen, I'm as excited as anyone about this castle of opulence and desire known as the new Yankee Stadium. It sounds exactly like how they described the Titanic, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if the thing struck a South Bronx iceberg (later determined to be Joe Torre: Curve Balls Along The Way star Paul Sorvino). I'm going to sample all the new digs have to offer when I get a chance to visit, specifically the in-house Brother Jimmy's rib tips. Basically what's happened here is now I can go watch the Yankees in person and eat Brother Jimmy's rib tips. Yes, I think I'm going to love the new place. Doesn't mean I won't shed a tear for the ol' girl across the street, however.

7. The Yankees bullpen is going to need reinforcements - A full season without Kyle Farnsworth will be like a full season without a gunshot wound to the abdomen, which is to say it will be awesome. That said, the Yankees didn't do much by way of fortifying the bridge to the immortal Mariano Rivera, who we say is immortal but is actually going to be 40 in November. Brian Bruney and Damaso Marte are the setup men here, and forgive me if I just had an accident thinking of Marte trying to retire Big Papi in a big spot in September. I know the Melk Man no longer delivers, but perhaps he can bring back a quality 'pen arm?

8. A-Rod and Kim Jones will engage in a torrid affair - Picture this: It's August 5 and A-Rod is fresh off being named American League Player of the Month for both June and July. With the Yankees set to begin a key four-game set with the Red Sox, Rodriguez realizes it's been four months since he was a huge miserable distraction for his team. He turns on the charm to bag the YES Network's enchanting sideline reporter, and then leaks the info to the NY Post in an effort to make Jeter think he's cool. People will make fun of A-Rod for three straight weeks, before Phil Mushnick writes an unfavorable column about Mike Francesa that signifies everything is back to normal. Seriously, you can't see this happening?

9. The AL East will be a two-horse race - Everyone seems to be big on this whole, "Baseball's three best teams are all in the same division"-angle, but I'm not so sure the Red Sox are going to be any good this season. I'm not saying this because I hate the Red Sox, which I do with the strength of a thousand Giambinos, but more because they are a team just loaded with question marks. Is Papi in decline? Will Lowell bounce back? What's the deal with Ellsbury? Which Josh Beckett will they get? Will J.D. Drew be able to stay on the field? Can Smoltz come back from surgery? How many months before John Henry's young bride destroys everything he holds dear? All these questions make me think it will be a dark October at Fenway, and it'll be the Rays who the Yanks jockey with for AL East supremacy. All of which would kind of be disappointing since I really want to get some sweet ALCS revenge on those monsters.

10. The Yankees will claim that elusive 27th world championship - "Oh, huge freaking surprise. The dude who writes a Yankees blog picked his team to win the World Series." I suppose this is a fair argument, but the truth of the matter is this Yankees team is loaded. The lineup got a huge boost with Cashman's deft Teixeira acquisition, while the rotation may be better than any assembled during the '96-'01 dynasty. Age is a concern, particularly amongst the old guard -- Jeter, Posada, Pettitte, Rivera -- but you don't get the feeling any of those players are in for a precipitous decline over the next six months. Let's say Yanks over the Phillies in six games, with Mo winning the World Series MVP before riding off into the sunset.

Let us now play some ball, as they say. I don't know about you, but I can't wait.


Mad Hungarian said...

... wow way off base... and I'm done with this blog

Ticketwood said...

The Yankees are another team that started slowly but they’ve turned it around. Since Alex Rodriguez returned, the entire squad has played much better. They should keep going to keep pace with the others. I really like them; they’ve always been my favourite teams in MLB. Just read about them here:

DH said...

still think i'm way off base?