I did this for MLB previews last year and I know the FanHouse has done this with video and backing music. Oh well.
1. Boston Red Sox (Mission of Burma) — Cream of the crop, beyond what others in the division are able to do in amassing a decent rotation and well, that line-up. Despite losing Curt Schilling to injury, starting a rotation with Josh Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka is a good thing, and nothing really needs to be said about offensive prowess. Like most teams, the question will be how to get to Papelbon. The Sox are the favorite for obvious reasons; they’re not as strong as they were last year, but still the easy pick.
2. New York Yankees (The Ramones) — Probably more along the lines of the Ramones after the first few albums, when Tommy Ramone left the band. The team, despite the protestations from their newly prominent exec Hank Steinbrenner, did get into a comfort zone and are now trying to renew that old spirit by bringing in young guns. Still have the best player in the game in A-Rod and good hitting. Questions as always verge on whether Ian Kennedy, Philp Hughes, and Joba Chamberlain can step up and how the ball gets to Mariano Rivera to save games. Joe Girardi is the new guidance man, let’s see if he’ll lead them to the mass cult or be as fondly remembered as, say, forgotten drummer Richie Ramone.
3. Tampa Bay Rays (Against Me!) — There is obvious talent and drive here to make a splash — a staff led by Scott Kazmir, got some other decent starters, and guys who can flat out hit like Carlos Pena, B.J. Upton, Akinori Iwarmura, and Evan Longoria (when the front office stops being sheisty just to get another year pre-arbitration out of him.) Like the Gainesville punk band, on the verge of a breakthrough that everyone’s predicting, and maybe finishing out of the cellar is enough to prove it.
4. Toronto Blue Jays (The New Pornographers) –Have an ace up front (Roy Hallday) along with some very valuable chips on the field (Vernon Wells, Scott Rolen), but the investment on A.J. Burnett hasn’t really paid off and Tampa has gotten better in response. There may be another reshuffling coming after this season.
5. Baltimore Orioles (Lungfish) — Trading away the valuable parts (Erik Bedard) leaves the Charm City with a team that won’t get any sort of national attention and/or respect unless they do something foolish like give up 30-something runs in one game of a doubleheader again. (Also, Lungfish was one of the few bands I could think of from Baltimore. It may be too mean to link them with the O’s.)
More to come in the following days. I hope to have these wrapped up by Sunday.