There are some out there in readerland who enjoy hearing from my dad. I'm still trying to get him to write something for me for this blog, a la Kristen with The Rick. For now, you'll just have to settle for transcripts.
Anyway, I asked my dad what his predictions were for the AL East in 2006. They were surprisingly vague.
On the Yankees: "I dunno...their pitching staff is reeeall old..."
On the Red Sox: "I dunno...their pitching staff is reeeall young..."
On the Blue Jays: "I dunno...they haven't been there in a while..."
On the Orioles: "I dunno..."
"You have to have an opinion!" I finally said. "What do you think? Who do you think is going to win? Just in your opinion?"
"Well, I think the Red Sox," he said. "They're my team."
"But do you objectively think they're going to win?"
He looked at me like I was speaking Martian.
"I don't know! But they're my team, so if I have to pick, I'll say Red Sox."
I gave up. He can be way too meta-meta about this stuff sometimes, you know? He's the one who made me a fan in the first place but the intervening years, and the Internet, have made me a different kind of fan, I guess.
Although, his predictions are every bit as good as those of Sports Illustrated, which as far as I could tell were really great predictions...for last year.
Anyway, my predictions for the AL East are:
- Red Sox - This, of course, is gambling heavily on the health of our veteran pitchers and the quick learning of our young pitchers. It's gambling heavily on the idea that somehow, Jonathan Papelbon will be lifted out of the pen down the stretch, and that we somehow get rid of Matt Clement before the trading deadline (I feel strongly about this. He just doesn't have the goods late and in the postseason). It's gambling heavily that either Mike Lowell gets his shit together at the plate or we find a better alternative. However, even if those factors are uncertain at the outset, there is a chance they could come together. I'm taking that chance for basically the same reason as my Dad, but for the sake of Internet argument, I'll back it up: A rotation featuring Schilling, Beckett, Wells, Wake and Papelbon; a renaissance from Keith Foulke; another monster year from the Dominican Duo at the plate; Gold-Glove defense in the infield...the Red Sox have a ton of strengths going in. It's up to them to capitalize, sure, but there is material to work with there. Plus, who's gonna beat them?
- Blue Jays - The BJs could indeed end up on top this year. They broke the bank in the offseason, and some of the talent they acquired is formidable. I predict the AL East race will come down to the wire between the Blue Jays and the Red Sox, instead of the traditional Red Sox and Yankees. (Note: This persuasively written editorial makes a strong argument against the Red Sox beating the Blue Jays, or anyone else for that matter.)
- Yankees - The pitching staff is old. The position players are old. The Yankees continue to pay the piper for the spending sprees that bought them the World Series years. The show pony at third base will never come through in the clutch. Johnny Damon will have a great year at the plate, but it won't be enough. The Yankees used to rely on ghosts; this year they will be ghosts.
- Orioles - Just cause. The only role the Os have played in the AL East of late is as kingmakers, playing beyond their means in their games against one team and rolling over and dying for the other (cf. Red Sox and Yankees in the AL East race of 2004. Doesn't matter now, of course, but at the time it did). This year, the Os will keep things tight between the Sox and Jays, or whoever's #1 and #2, as always.
- Devil Rays - This kind of goes without saying.
Of course, all of that is on paper. And as Bill Lee said, "unfortunately, they play on grass." So we'll just have to see.