Baseball writers love the Spring, because it is a time to dust off abandoned typewriters and wax poetically about renewals, eternal hope, and the smell of grass. After a winter of watching lesser sports, such as that one were steroid inflated men inflict brain damage on one another, it's refreshing to finally get back to a more refined game. One that features men scratching themselves, spitting, and an overindulgence on cheap beers and mystery meat sausages.
What can I say, we writers are a predictable lot. Oh, to be certain, we complained as the season ended, glad to finally be freed, but then February comes around again we're imagining organs playing clumsily rendered versions of Gangnam Style and "Living La Vida Loca."
A great game like baseball deserves a great introduction. Unfortunately, it shan't be found here, today. Instead, I present Primavera Gigante!: NL Edition.
Teams That Play in the National League:
Mets - When was the last time a Cy Young winner was traded the off-season after winning the award? It was 1997, when Pedro Martinez was traded from the Expos to the Red Sox. Now that RA Dickey has gone north, what else is there to talk about regarding the Metropolitans? They had a hot start last year, and they'll probably still be a sneaky good team, but it's going to be difficult for them to be the best in the division. (Amazin Avenue)
Diamondbacks - Here's a fun fact: the D-backs were originally named for the turtle, but Jerry Colangelo was too embarrassed to correct anyone they started making snake merchandise. If you need more of a preview for the D-backs on a D-backs blog, I don't know what to tell you. (AZ Snakepit)
Phillies - Illadelphia was a disappointing team last year, and the moves they made for 2013 don't seem to change that trend. Their big move was to acquire Delmon Young and Michael Young, so I guess this just continue their hope to build The Team of Yesterday. (The Good Phight)
Reds - They won their division last year, and they didn't really do anything to get worse. Shin-Soo Choo was a nice pickup, even if it cost them the Next Derek Jeter, and it's hard to see another NL Central team that'll be better without some luck. (Red Reporter)
Giants - Tim Lincecum got a haircut. Tim Lincecum got a haircut. Also, they resigned all those scrappy players like Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro to stupid deals. It's okay, though, because the lich known as Hunter Pence will power them to more dark victories. (McCovey Chronicles)
Dodgers - So New Money, it's disgusting. Sure, we'll make nice at the Foundation galas and in the lobby at the Met, but they're not impressing anybody with all those gaudy name brands just past their freshness. I mean, seriously, those McQueen shoes? Who do they think they're impressing? (True Blue LA)
Marlins - Most brilliant team in the league, if by brilliant you mean stone cold evil. They basically dumped every big player they had (most of which were acquired before the 2012 season) except Giancarlo Stanton. (Fish Stripes)
Cubs - 106 seasons and counting. (Bleed Cubbie Blue)
Braves - Now that they've collected both of the Upton brothers, they can continue their tomahawk reign of terror. Braves were good last year, they're probably even better this year, so I'd be pretty happy if I was in Atlanta. Well, except that it would mean I lived in Atlanta, but at least I'd be happy about the team I root for. (Talking Chop)
Cardinals - Not having Chris Carpenter isn't going to fun, but there's still a lot of good pieces in St. Louis. They didn't make any significant moves in the offseason, so they're going to have to hope it's enough for now. (Viva El Birdos)
Nationals - Washington DC fans had to endure some pretty bad years, but this is the team you hope to get at the end of a long stay in the wilderness. They're going to be a lot of fun to watch. One small concern, however, is how many times we're going to hear comparisons of how the Nats treated Steven Strasburg versus how the Redskins treated RG Three Sticks. (Federal Baseball)
Pirates - Man, it'd be nice if they'd actually finish with a winning record. It's been so long I can barely remember it. Of course, the logical conclusion of this would be the insufferable Pittsburgh fans. Basically what I'm saying here is that the Pirates didn't really do anything exciting in the off-season, and I'm too ignorant to talk about them so I'm going to rely on the old hacky trick of talking about their history and emotions. (Bucs Dugout)
Padres - I think this team is better than a lot might say, but they're going to have their hands full trying to not write stupid articles about college players getting injured. Wait, what are we talking about again? (Padresfreude)
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
I know, you're probably just going to scroll until you see predictions because this a results based society. Sometimes it's important to do things well, as well as do well. Regardless, I understand the demands before me, so with only a little further ado, here's a munge of teams I think will make the playoffs:
NL Champ this year is the Natinals, where they will face the previously Clefo-predicted Tigers and win in 8 games. Chaos!
Quick, when was the last time the NL won 4 straight World Series? Never! The league has managed a couple streaks of 3, but never 4.
The difference between the Marlins projected 2013 payroll, and the Dodgers projected payroll is $169,000,000. That gap is nearly twice as much as the D-backs will pay this year.
The Mets get to host the All-Star Game, which is probably the only interesting thing to say about the Mets this year unless Ike Davis' popcorn brigade returns to Chase Field.
My sleeper pick for the NL is the Padres. Obviously, I think the D-backs can make the playoffs, but I don't think many would be surprised. Likewise with the Cardinals and Pirates, or even the Phillies.
2005 was the last year an NL team had both the Cy Young and MLB winners, when the Cardinals had both Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter win. I don't think you'd be insane to put the Nationals as an early favorite to accomplish that next.
What Did Baseball Look Like 30 Years Ago?
It was such a simpler time then. Bob Costas was Bobby, Lite beer by Miller was everything you wanted in a beer, but less, and everything had a faint sheen of Tron, even if most people hadn't seen Tron. Sure, I wasn't even born then, but that's not going to stop me from idolizing some distant time, as well as my childhood, because that's easier than acknowledging every age's inherent problems and contradictions.
Awesome, I'm Ready for Baseball To Begin!
Not so fast, hondo. There's still Spring Training games to be had. But don't you worry, the real games will start soon. Until then, I've been your host, soco, and this is Primavera Gigante!