Warning: The Film Official has been hijacked by a baseball nerd, who will give you his or her semi-informed (based on a lot of reading and scouring several projection systems) predictions as to the coming Major League Baseball season, which begins tonight.
"Listen, kids -- you know these predictions are gonna be wrong, right?"
Baseball Movie Equivalent: Bull Durham
Why Bull Durham?: Most overrated.
The breakdown: The Mets aren't locks to win here (shaky rotation after Santana; no, not this Santana), but they seem to be solid favorites, especially with the improved bullpen ... The Braves are strong bounce-back candidates, and could win here if they stay healthy and NYM slips ... The defending Series champion Phillies, though, have some issues; remember, winning the title last year counts for exactly zero wins this year -- the whole "they're champions until someone unseats them" thing is pure nonsense ... The Marlins' defense stinks and their lineup is OK, but they have four intriguing young SPs that just need to stay healthy ... The Nationals won't win the division, but they won't be a joke this year.
Baseball Movie Equivalent: Angels in the Outfield ('94 version)
Why Angels?: No reason. I just wanted to mention that it JUST occurred to me that Joseph Gordon-Levitt starred in this movie. Incredible! Another kid actor who has gone on to be quite good (here's an example of what I mean).
The breakdown: This is the Cubs' division to lose, although injuries and bad luck are the great equalizers ... The Cardinals could surprise some people, and not just because they have the best player in baseball ... The Brewers are close but a little more questionable; good lineup, highly iffy pitching ... The Reds could be solid if their young players develop as expected ... The Pirates are the Pirates ... The Astros sure will be an expensive fifth/sixth-place team.
Baseball Movie Equivalent: Sugar
Why Sugar?: They have considerable promise, but who knows if they'll fulfill it?
The Breakdown: With some development and a little luck, the Dodgers could be the best team in the NL ... The Diamondbacks might be close behind -- but they need a LOT of young player development to reach those heights ... The Giants' staff is scary; their lineup is scary, too, but for very different reasons ... The Rockies are highly eh ... The Padres stink, but don't feel sorry for them -- they reside in the Greatest City in the History of Mankind.
Baseball Movie Equivalent: The Bad News Bears ('76 version)
Why Bad News Bears?: Because both are the best in baseball.
The Breakdown: Flip a coin between the Red Sox and Yankees for the winner, with the Rays close behind (and able to overtake the other two, if things go right) ... My coin came up Red Sox, in part because of A-Rod's injury ... The Blue Jays and Orioles will hang around in the background, battling for the fourth spot -- but watch out for Matt Bleeping Wieters.
Baseball Movie Equivalent: Eight Men Out
Why Eight Men Out?: They're both aight.
The Breakdown: Flip a five-sided coin, only weight it a bit in the Indians' favor, and don't allow for any of the other teams (Tigers, Twins, White Sox, Royals) to sneak into Wild Card consideration.
Baseball Movie Equivalent: The Fan
Why The Fan?: Ugh.
The Breakdown: This division wouldn't be so ugh if A's fans hadn't sold their collective soul (isn't that a band?) to the devil in exchange for injuring nearly every Angels pitcher possible ... Only problem is the A's have all these injury/pitching problems of their own ... The Rangers, meanwhile, breath a sigh of relief and exclaim: "Good thing we haven't got the pitching to put a curse on!" ... The Mariners, well, is it 2011 yet?
SO ... DIVISION WINNERS
NL: Mets, Cubs, Dodgers
AL: Red Sox, Indians, Angels
WILD CARD PICKS
NL: Bold prediction -- Diamondbacks narrowly edge Braves, Cardinals and Phillies.
AL: The Sox/Yankees loser wins (my pick -- Yankees), unless one of those teams underperforms slightly and the Rays overperform slightly.
I don't make playoff picks, because the baseball playoff -- for the most part -- is an exercise in randomness. The sample of games (best of five/seven) isn't remotely large enough to make accurate predictions*.
*Q: Does this mean your regular-season picks should be considered accurate?
4 hours ago