|More optimistic than psychic, all hope and no sense, these predictions are guaranteed never to come true. But if even one does, I will brag about it for the rest of my life. Tribune photo by Zbigniew Bzdak (Also posted at LOHO)|
If the LOHO NCAA Pick 'Em Challenge has taught us anything, it's that my annual tradition of picking Kansas to win it all is guaranteed to go dreadfully wrong every year (except in the occasional instance when I break from tradition and allow them to succeed . . . sorry, Jayhawks). And if it has taught us two things, it's that I suck at predicting things. So here is a list of things I'm utterly confident will not happen, which is precisely why I am prognosticating that they will:
Alfonso Soriano will hit 40 homers. Do you remember last April? Soriano started the season hotter than a Gatorade-machine-bashing tantrum. And then he decided to test his knee reflex on the left-field wall. I'm hoping it was the injury that caused the precipitous production decline and not a failure to renew some Faustian deal with the devil. If I'm wrong (and I usually am) we'll be seeing more of Tyler Colvin in left than anyone is really hoping to get. (Tyler Colvin's mom excluded, of course.) If I'm right, Wrigley could be hosting its fair share of October baseball.
Ryan Theriot will collect 200 hits and 30 stolen bases. I'm not just saying this because he's my starting shortstop in the SABR-jerk fantasy league (in which I don't belong, but every basement needs a dweller). Well, actually, I am pretty much saying this because he's my starting shortstop. But it could happen. I'm not expecting Rudy Jaramillo to work miracles up and down the Cubs batting order, but I do think he can help detect and correct problems a bit sooner. Don't expect a power surge from the Riot, but you might see some better consistency from him and the rest of the Cubs bats. And the TOOTBLAN reduction will just be a freak aberration. I'm predicting big things from Theriot, and I'm predicting that most of them will come while he's playing second base. Because . . .
Starlin Castro will be the Cubs starting shortstop by June 13. Why June 13? Don't ask me to explain these things, I don't know. But everyone in the Cubs organization thinks this kid is the real deal. And by June 13, most people in the Cubs organization will have their doubts about the Fontebaker project. Castro is going to shine at AAA, I can feel it. Or maybe that's indigestion. Either way, I'm pretty sure Castro is coming, and he's coming for good.
Carlos Zambrano: Cy Young Award winner, 2010. Big Z is good at baseball. Big Z is emotional. Big Z is occasionally a risk to himself and others. But more than anything, Carlos Zambrano is fun to watch. I'm not one of those who think his emotional outbursts have anything to do with the actual baseball results. If anything, I believe his excitability is more responsible for his success than his meltdowns. I think he's been unlucky of late, and I expect that to turn around this year in a big way. But I expect a lot of things.
Carlos Marmol will earn 50 saves in 2010. He'll probably also issue 100 walks, but this will be the year Marmol figures it out. Again. Without the World Baseball Classic and Groggles to torture us this year, the wild one will stay relatively consistent all season long. That means he'll consistently work his way in and out of jams while no one ever seems to actually hit any of his pitches. Except with their elbows.
Carlos Silva and Milton Bradley will not only prove to be welcome additions to their new clubs, they'll actually earn their contracts. No, wait, don't leave! I swear, I'm going somewhere with this. Milton Bradley is a good baseball player. 2009 was not a good year for him, but the guy can hit a baseball (or watch a bad pitch go by). Seattle is the perfect place for him to shine, or at least where he can blend in with all the other rain clouds. And Carlos Silva has a chance to be a rock-solid fifth starter. Okay, maybe a moderately fluffy fifth starter, but Seattle paid us to take him, and he'll earn that money. Wait, what does that even mean? Um . . .
Geovanny Soto will return to the All-Star Game. I don't know what the stats will say when it's all said and done, but Geo is going to have a hot start to 2010. He's trimmed everything from his waistline to his eyebrows, and the net effect is going to be brilliant. At least as long as his mask covers up the eyebrow thing.
The biggest scandal to come out of the Cubs clubhouse will center around Mike Fontenot. Little Babe Ruth and another little person who frequents the place are going to have words, and it won't be pretty. Which one gets run out of town is anybody's guess, but I'm predicting the Cajun Connection stays in tact. (Help Wanted: Beat Reporter with penchant for drama)
Tom Ricketts will pour beer on a St. Louis Cardinal. It will be an accident, but it will happen.
The Toyota sign will shoot fireworks after every homer, and neither the city of Chicago nor the Wrigleyville neighborhood will have the slightest problem with it. White Sox fans will be equal parts furious and smug about the North Siders stealing their tradition while Cub fans will use the occasion to vaguely remember that the White Sox fanbase does, in fact, exist.
The Cubs will win the World Series. Of course they will. This is the year. Also, world peace will finally be achieved and the season finale of Lost will make total and complete sense.
Okay, that's all I got. Gimme your predictions, and make sure they're no less likely to occur than mine. I don't want to be upstaged in my wrongness.