The following are 10 random predictions for the 2012 Major League season. Some are Sox-centric; others are not. I tried to come up with “12 for ‘12”, but came up two short - much like the Red Sox bullpen will this year.
1. Both the AL and NL playoff participants are not decided until the last day of the season, and at least one play-in game needs to be played to determine a second wild card. Pundits and fans nationwide exclaim that the last day of 2012’s regular season is “the most exciting day of baseball ever!”, before remembering we all said that about last year’s day 162 as well.
2. The top five vote getters for AL MVP in some order are: Adrian Gonzalez, Miguel Cabrera, Albert Pujols, Carlos Santana, and…Billy Butler. Yes, you heard me correctly. Billy Moobs Butler.
3. Adrian Gonzalez (2011 NL export) outperforms 2012 NL exports Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder on his way to a .335+, 35+, 130+ season and wins the AL MVP. Adrian told Matthew Berry and Stephania Bell on the Fantasy Focus podcast that his shoulder has been injured for the past two years, he had off-season surgery to clean it up, and now he feels as though he can swing through the ball better than any time since 2009. Yes, please. Sign me up.
4. Brian Wilson’s “Got Heem” will become the trendy strikeout call of 2012. It’s the new sensation sweeping the nation! If you don’t know what I’m talking about, do yourself a favor and watch the video below:
5. I will greatly miss Tito and his wad of gum/chew in his cheek in our dugout. I am wistful and weepy even thinking about it. I will come to rue the day Tito and Bobby V switched jobs. Cut to me when the Sox win the ’12 Series: “I love Bobby V! What a great hire! I knew he was the guy to turn these lackluster hacks around!”
6. Steven Strausberg reaches his 160 innings limit on September 5 with the Nationals clinging to a 2 game lead for the second wildcard. After much hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth, the Nats shut him down and they end up tied with the Giants and lose in a one game playoff.
- Side Note: do you think baseball fans in Montreal cheer for the Nationals? Or do they view the Nats like a girlfriend who moved out on them and started dating another guy, even if the new relationship is as messed up and tortured as theirs was? Or, perhaps most importantly, do baseball fans in Montreal still exist?
7. Carlos Zambrano and Ozzie Guillen get into a fistfight in the Marlins dugout, which somehow ends with them both hugging each other, speaking rapid/incoherent Spanish, and weeping openly.
8. Manny Ramirez sits out his 50 game suspension, comes back to the A’s, hits fairly well, then gets traded at the deadline back to the Cleveland Indians and helps them win the AL Central. Manny celebrates by being Manny and snorts a line of female fertility drugs in the clubhouse on live TV, earning himself a 100 game suspension next season…and quadruplets.
9. Michael Bourn steals 80 bases, becoming the first player to swipe 80 bags since 1988 when Rickey Henderson and Vince Coleman both did it. After stealing his 80th bag, Bourn takes the base out of the dirt, lofts it over his head jubilantly, and is tagged out by shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who laughs derisively.
10. Alfredo Aceves finishes the 2012 season with the most saves on the Red Sox – by far. He also leads the Sox in scowls, birds flipped, brawls started, catchers’ signs ignored, and time spent sitting alone on the end of the bench scaring the living bejesus out of everyone.