Always optimism for the home team


What is our fascination with predictions? Why do sportswriters specifically feel the need to guess how a season will end on the day before it begins? The only three answer I can think of: 1) they want to sound smart, 2) their editors told them to, 3) everyone else is doing it. It’s still a fool’s game, so I’m going to refrain — though I will make a bold prediction, because no one expect that to happen.

The newspaper masses have assembled, and they’ve made their predictions for the 2009 AL East. Joy of Sox, one of the better Sox blogs, shares the Boston writers’ picks and the New York writers’ picks. You’ll never guess how each side picked.

Of the six writers from the Boston Globe, only two picked the Yankees to even make the playoffs, and none of them think the Yanks will take the division. Both of them, by the way, picked the Sox to win the World Series. On the New York end, we see that the Times loves the Yanks: both Jack Curry and Tyler Kepner picked them to win the division, though both had the Sox second and taking the Wild Card. Yet while every Red Sox writer had the Sox in the playoffs, one Yanks writer has excluded the hometown team. You can guess if you want, but I’m going to give it away: Bill Madden. He has the Rays winning 101 games. If there’s a 100-win team in the division, I certainly wouldn’t peg the Rays for the honor.

The lesson: don’t listen to the predictions. They mean nothing, and even that gives “nothing” a bad name. Just look at ESPN’s staff predictions. Ridiculous, right? Twins win the WC? Not that it can’t happen, but given what we know right now how could you possibly predict that?* Just stay away from what the “experts” say and enjoy the start of the season. It’s certainly one to get excited about.

* Answer: Matthew Berry knows that no one will remember his prediction when it doesn’t happen, but on the off-chance it does he’s going to reference it constantly in a reminder of just how smart he is.

Categories : Spring Training


  1. Jeremy says:

    What makes ESPN’s and similar predictions really worthless is the lack of explanations. You can make these predictions by picking team names randomly. If you turn out to be correct, you can explain your predictions retroactively by looking at what actually happened during the season.

  2. Pedroia says:

    Teixeira; not that good, you guys know your still a third place team right?? And that A-Rod fellow, yea hes a dork, but I idolize Jeter, hes cool.

  3. Tripp says:

    I just love the ESPN predictions because they base everything off of the Sox’s bullpen. They barely give light to that fact that Ortiz, Lowell, and Drew all had sub par years and are coming off injured seasons. It’s as if they want to make one believe that the bullpen is more important than the offense.

    • El Generalissimo says:

      Exactly, no one questions there lineup. Can Ortiz and Lowell come back. Can Drew, Bay, Youk, keep it up. Is Lowrie even good…?

    • Steve H says:

      And the age factor of Ortiz/Lowell/Drew doesn’t get considered. They are all past their prime and injury prone. We always here about the Yankees age, but not the Sox.

    • “I just love the ESPN predictions because they base everything off of the Sox’s bullpen even though the Yankees bullpen figures to be much, much better.”


    • 27 this year says:

      who do the sox have that is that all important 8th inning guy. mo is better than papalboner and the soxc got no one else.

      • andrew says:

        The Sox do have a good bullpen. Okajima is a great setup man and Saito will create quite trio if he makes it back.

        That being said, there’s no reason why the Yankee bullpen can’t be better than the Sox

        • Mo >>>> Papelbon
          Marte/Bruney/Veras >> Okajima/Saito/Ramirez
          Edwar/Coke/Albaladejo >>>>>> Masterson/Delcarmen/Lopez
          Robertson/Melancon/Tomko >>>> Bard/Hansack/Jones

          • Mike Pop says:

            Hope you’re right.

          • Troy says:

            Edwar/Coke/Albaladejo >>>>>> Masterson/Delcarmen/Lopez
            Robertson/Melancon/Tomko >>>> Bard/Hansack/Jones


            • Part 1:

              2008 FIPs:

              Edwar- 3.96
              Coke- 1.63 ML (small sample), 3.01 in 118 innings in AA
              Albaladejo- 3.50 (small sample), similar 3.50 numbers across much of his minor league career

              Masterson- 4.69
              Delcarmen- 3.32
              Lopez 4.19

              Sorry, Coke, Edwar, and Albaladejo are all both individually and collectively way better pitchers than Justin Masterson, Manny Delcarmen, and Javier Lopez.


              As for the second part, Melancon and Bard are both prospects, but I’ll take Melancon over Bard because Bard throws hard but it’s straight and flat. I’ll guess he’ll have a better and smoother transition into a big league relief pitcher because he’s economical, doesn’t allow walks or homers, and has similar K-rates. Robertson is so much better than Jones that it’s not worth discussing, and Tomko and Hansack are both middling vets, but Tomko’s middling has always been more effective than Hansack’s middling, so I’ll take that end as well.

              If you offered all 30 teams their choice of the sextet of Edwar/Coke/Albie/Robertson/Melancon/Tomko or Masterson/Delcarmen/Lopez/Jones/Bard/Hansack, I feel confident every team would pick our six over their six, hands down.

  4. El Generalissimo says:

    The only thing that pisses me off is, the playoffs are such a crap-shoot… That said even while the Boston has been winning titles, and the Rays have gotten better one thing has stayed the same… the Yankees have beat them both besides for 1 series in 2004, and one whacky season against the Rays. Even last year Yankees 9-9 v. Sox and 11-7 v. Rays and we stunk!

    I dont get it… but that’s ok. I have a feeling this season is going to come down to a Red Sox- Yanks ALCS. I just cant see the Yanks getting back over that hump, until the bash the Sox again. It’s one of those instinct things.

  5. GG says:

    Yankees and Angels, ALCS

    • GG says:

      and Girardi beats the Angels, the team Torre never could after 02.

      • Jamal G. says:

        My perfect scenario is a Bombers’ sweep of the Angels in the ALDS, and after falling losing Game 1 to Boston in the ALCS (this way, all the MSM morons start having diarrhea of the mouth about how the Red Sox will roll over the Yanks, and how the latter stands no chance), the Yanks win the next four.

        • Kevin G. says:

          I hope the Red Sox win the first three games, and the Yankees come back to win the last four, with a walk-off home-run by A-Rod in game seven to win the pennant for the Yankees.

          • I hope the Yankees sweep the Red Sox in four games by an aggregate score of 86-0.

            • Kevin G. says:

              That would be nice too.

              • Kevin says:

                But, I still want A-Rod to hit the walk-off home run to shut up the media. So how about the Yankees score a total of 85 runs in the first three games, but they are tired from running around the bases for the fourth game so they score no runs until the ninth. A-Rod gets up to the plate and hits a walk-off home run.

                • Kevin G. says:

                  Why does my name keep reverting back to “Kevin” and not “Kevin G.”? I always have to change it before I comment, but I forgot.

                • “So how about the Yankees score a total of 85 runs in the first three games, but they are tired from running around the bases for the fourth game so they score no runs until the ninth.”


                • Kevin G. says:

                  I just want A-Rod to hit the walk-off home run.

                • I just want A-Rod to hit the walk-off home run.

                  How about this: In all four games of the sweep, ARod can hit first inning homers to give us leads we’ll never relinquish.

                  Or, ARod can hit homers in the 8th inning of all four games. Sure, we’ll already be leading by at least 10 runs in every game at that point, but they’ll still be 8th innings homers, so they’ll matter.

                  There, that’s better.

                • Kevin G. says:

                  ARod can hit first inning homers to give us leads we’ll never relinquish.

                  First inning home runs don’t count, even in the playoffs.

                  Or, ARod can hit homers in the 8th inning of all four games. Sure, we’ll already be leading by at least 10 runs in every game at that point, but they’ll still be 8th innings homers, so they’ll matter.

                  As long as the MSM acknowledges that he was clutch.

              • I mean, after 86 years of us beating their asses, they came back from down 3-0 to win a series. There’s nothing we can do to equal that in terms of significance, not even pulling off a similar Rasputin-like 0-3 to 4-3 comeback. It won’t mean the same thing.

                I’d much rather do something different and more indicative not of a heated battle between two great competitors, something more evocative of an absolute big-brother/little-brother humiliating smackdown to restore the old order. Something like a sweep where none of the four games are remotely competitive, just four straight total beatdowns.

  6. Yankee Fan in Boston says:

    Anyone else see that Jim Caple not only picked the Twins to win the world series, but picked Randy Johnson to win the Cy Young!! Are you kidding me?!?!?

  7. Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

    Check out what Curt Schilling is saying about the 2009 Red Sox. Between 105 and 110 wins, depending on what they get out of Penny and Smoltz. Beckett will be healthy all year, Masterson compares favorably to Greg Maddux and Santa Claus will beat the snot out of the Tooth Fairy.


    Holey fucking homerism, Batman.

    • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

      Oops, that was my post. Here’s the original


    • Jeremy says:

      You left out the part about Lester curing cancer (recovering from it wasn’t enough for him).

      • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

        Read the comments on Curt’s blog. Priceless.

        NHBill Says:”Thanks Curt! That was a fantastic post! You definitely bring a perspective I can’t find anywhere else.”

        There’s a reason for that Bill. It’s called common sense.

        • Jeremy says:

          My favorite comment goes in a slightly different direction:

          “Great optimism and perspective Curt. But, for a division that has the 3 best teams in baseball – how do the Sox win 105 games when they haven’t eclipsed 100 in over 50 years?”


          In all fairness to Schilling, he does have a lot of praise for the Yankees, notes that missing ARod “will not help them, no matter what you think,” and says they will be “very very good” if the rotation holds up.

          • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

            In fairness to his blog readers, a few of them (who identified themselves as Sox fans) brought up the fact that’s its virtually impossible to have 3 good teams in the same division and win 100+ games.

            • At the risk of insulting all of us humble RAB regulars (since we’re blog commenters), but…

              It’s never a good sign when the commenters on your blog are smarter than you are. It’s time to reevaluate your worth as a blogger.

              • Kevin G. says:

                I’m sure there are more than a few bloggers that aren’t as smart as the majority of commenters on this blog (not including me).

                • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

                  We are a small, yet elite group. The best and the brightest. The cutting edge of Yankeedom.

                  A band of brothers that through brains, conniving, and strategery will one day come to own the New York Yankees.

                • Kevin G. says:

                  RAB already tells the Yankees what to do. Remember trading for Swisher and switching Jeter and Damon in the batting order. ;)

              • andrew says:

                No offense taken, RAB commenters are a special bunch though. I remember somebody saying this a while back, but it’s the only website I can go to and get as much info from reading the comments as you can from reading the article. Just a collection of good baseball minds around here.

                and yea, Schilling did do his fair share of Yankee-loving. He said if Brackman pans out he could be a right handed Randy Johnson and that kind of talent only comes along once every 20 years.

    • Kevin G. says:

      At least he gives the Yankees some credit.

      • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

        You mean they’re going to win 105 games as well?

        So I guess the Red Sox win 110, the Yanks 105 and the Rays a paltry 100 games. Assuming the top three play each other to a standstill, that would mean the Blue Jays and O’s will need to go 4-15 vs all three AND all three teams would need a .700 winning pct vs the rest of the league. Not happening.

        • Kevin G. says:

          Well, it’s not like he said they were going to suck like most Red Sox fans. He actually mentions their prospects and that they will be a formidable team.

          I agree he gives the Red Sox too much credit, but it is not like he buries the Yankees.

    • Jamal G. says:

      … only the Red Sox could manage a big injury to the staff and not get buried.

      Holy shit, that is batshit insane.

  8. Januz says:

    If there is a season where making predictions is downright STUPID it is this year. Because of the economy, there will be teams like Detroit, Seattle, Oakland (If they don’t contend), and San Diego dumping salaries left and right. Guys like Halliday, Holliday, Peavey and Ordonez on the right team could mean the difference between a World Series Title and not even making the playoffs.
    The probability is the real MVP’s this year, are the GM’s and ownership who make the right trade without mortgaging the future and disrupting team chemistry.

    • First sentence:
      “If there is a season where making predictions is downright STUPID it is this year. “

      Probably right.

      Second sentence:
      “Because of the economy, there will be teams like Detroit, Seattle, Oakland (If they don’t contend), and San Diego dumping salaries left and right.”

      Wait, isn’t that a prediction?

      • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

        Januz, you can’t get anything past TSJC. You should know that by now.

        • I mean, maybe if he would have made his typical three-paragraph long post and separated those two sentences with 300 intervening words, I may not have noticed, but you can’t start a comment in a post about predictions with Sentence #1 saying “Predictions are dumb” and Sentence #2 right after it saying “Here’s a prediction”.

          That’s just BEGGING to get ridiculed.

          • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

            You’d think he was a recently retired Red Sox pitcher or something.

            • Artist formerly known as 'The' Steve says:

              Speaking of Curt, I want to to pull out your decoder ring and decipher this paragraph for me.

              “The Yankee defense, if it’s not solid, could prove to be a huge issue for them this year as far as Wang is concerned. He’s won consistently with a below average defense and he won’t suddenly start striking guys out. I expect his numbers to remain the same, or maybe improve outside W/L. He is a guy that could have across-the-board improvement in all categories but W/L if he doesn’t get consistent defense.”

              . . . . .anything? Does any of that make sense, or is it code for some super secret jock language us mere mortals can’t comprehend?

          • Januz says:

            The statement that I made about predictions actually makes a lot of sense. The reason being that everything in MLB and the economy in general is in a state of flux.
            As for statement two: I do not think the statement about certain teams dumping guys is so much a prediction, as it is a statement of fact. For example: I do not think ANYONE could predict Detroit taking a $14m hit on Gary Sheffield (Just to get rid of him), and if they are willing to do that, it is not a stretch to say they would trade Maglio Ordonez in a nano second, so that they could not only avoid paying him $18m this year, but big money in 2010 & 2011 as well: Here is his contract:
            2010 option guaranteed at $18M if Ordonez has:
            135 starts or 540 PAs in 2009, or
            270 starts or 1,080 PAs in 2008-09
            2011 option guaranteed at $15M if Ordonez has:
            135 starts or 540 PAs in 2010, or
            270 starts or 1,080 PAs in 2009-10 mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/ – 43k – Cached – Similar pages

            • As for statement two: I do not think the statement about certain teams dumping guys is so much a prediction, as it is a statement of fact.

              You used the knowledge you had in hand at the present moment (that many teams have already started shedding salaries) to PREDICT that other teams in the league, such as Detroit, Seattle, Oakland, and San Diego would start dumping salaries at some point in the future.

              While it’s intuitive and probably will prove to be true, IT IS A PREDICTION. YOU MADE A PREDICTION, JANUZ, NOT A STATEMENT OF FACT. You cannot make a statement of fact about the FUTURE because none of it has happened yet.


              Secondly, your “evidence” that your statement of fact prediction is valid is patently ridiculous. You claim that your prediction that teams will begin dumping salaries should be taken as a statement of fact because nobody could have “predicted Detroit taking a 14M hit on Gary Sheffield”.

              A) Detroit taking a 14M hit on Gary Sheffield does not lessen their financial burden. They still have to pay Sheffield that 14M. It is not indicative of their desire to shed salary, because if it was their desire to shed salary they wouldn’t have cut him, they would have kept him and tried to trade him so that they WOULDN’T be on the hook for the entirety of that 14M. Furthermore, it’s not indicative that they’d be willing to trade Magglio, because cutting Sheffield is not related at ALL to trading Magglio. They’re two different players with two different levels of importance and one would be on the trading block, one was just cut.

              B) As you said yourself, NOBODY COULD HAVE PREDICTED IT. It boggles my mind that you can say first that predictions are dumb, then make a prediction, then say that your prediction isn’t a prediction, it’s a fact, and then claim that the evidence that that prediction is a fact and not a prediction is a fact that you just claimed WAS IMPOSSIBLE TO PREDICT. This fact and claim should tell you that ALL predictions are circumspect and impossible to predict, and hence, no prediction EVER should be perceived to be fact.

              Seriously, WTF, mate?

      • Mike says:

        Doesn’t anyone else realize that his first sentence is a prediction that this year will be a bad year for predictions? Then his second sentence is his prediction for why this year will be bad for predictions.

    • Jamal G. says:

      You misspelled virtually every name you listed.

  9. GG says:

    Jonny Gomes, a man we all have reason not to like for his fighting with the Yankees, isnt making the Reds opening day roster, thats nice to know.

  10. Manimal says:

    Jason Grey says the yankees will have the AL Cy Young and MVP, but are the wild card. Is that possible?

  11. Heh, watching BBTN: Dave Winfield looks like he could whup John Kruk’s ass.

    I may actually enjoy watching that.

  12. Mike Pop says:

    I love how the Yanks’ added 3 HUGE pieces, and people say they are only 1 game better than last year. This is why I love Tim Kurkjian!

    • Kevin G. says:

      And the fact that Posada, Wang, and Matsui may all come back healthy, Cano will probably have a bounce back year, and the fact that they traded for Swisher.

    • Troy says:

      while I disagree that they are only 1 game better…the Rays and Sox also improved this off-season, no?

      • Mike Pop says:

        Yea, but the Red Sox were “risky” moves, no? They could be great, or fall flat on their face. Burrell is nice for the Rays though, but the Yanks got CC, A.J, Swish and Tex to replace pieces that make this year’s team better. I think the Yanks are going to win 99 games, there is my prediction.

        A.J. for Cy!!!!

      • No.

        The Rays got marginally better by adding Joyce and Burrell, but Price looks to have taken a step back. Other than that, they’re basically the same, and they have to keep hoping their 2008 great injury luck continues to last.

        The Sox added about 5 high-risk guys, probably only one of which will actually contribute much of anything. They have to rely on just as many old guys not getting injured or regressing as we do, but we have a better core of young guys than they do.

        The Sox and Rays were pretty lucky last year, and didn’t really add anything of considerable value to their teams in the offseason. We were pretty unlucky last year and added two aces, a heart of the order bat, and a legit starting corner OF (who’s sitting on our bench due to a positional embarrassment of riches).

        • El Generalissimo says:

          AND Lowell off injury, Ortiz off injury, no manny and career years from Youk and Pedroia.

          Who hits in the middle of that order… they may not have a 30 HR hitter.. if things don’t break for them.

  13. anonymous says:

    I saw a prediction on MLB.com that Papelbon is a Cy candidate this year.

  14. leo says:

    I got bored and added up all of Madden’s predicted records and they don’t add up right (he predicts all of MLB to finish above .500). The same thing as last year. He should probably stop predicting records if he can’t even be bothered to see if his outcomes are actually possible.

  15. Mo says:

    Big surprise: Gammons chooses Sawx to win it all

  16. [...] are stupid (I said this yesterday). How can one person expect to figure out what’s going to happen over the course of a season [...]

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