Other NotGraphs Bold Predictions:
Jeremy Blachman’s 10 Bold Predictions for 2013
1. On April 15th, Giancarlo Stanton will hit a line drive deep off the green walls of the Marlin’s godawful-green home park. Instead of reaching third on a gimme triple, he will stop at second base. With both feet on the cushy white bag, he will face the cameras. In full zoom, the cameras will catch him mouthing, “Oh! Life has a wretched banality and the clock’s rhythm is more steady than the heart’s. Even if I was on third base, ain’t no one but me could drive me home anyway.”
2. On April 5th, Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen will smash a line drive to left that pulverizes a dove mid-flight, about 15 feet above third base. Vin Scully will ejaculate: “HOLY BIRD-F**KS!!!” The phrase will later be engraved on both his Hall of Fame busts.
3. Ben Zobrist will do everything and then do it all again because he did everything the first time without making any outs. National writers will again suspect the Rays are trying to trade him for Howie Kendrick and that the Rays wish he would stop moving around the field, playing all those positions and so forth.
4. The Houston Astros will win the AL West after actual, cosmic asteroids utterly destroy American’s western seaboard. And after the Rangers underachieve expectations.
5. Mets starter Jon Niese will reveal his secret Languid Ball pitch. On July 21st, Niese will throw the Languid Ball to C Carlos Ruiz. PITCHf/x will report 53 mph and zero break. Ruiz will take the pitch for a called strike and immediately leave the batters box to sob for fifteen minutes, rolling in the grass near the away dugout. After trainers rouse him, Ruiz will return to the batters box, the crowd now hushed with anticipation and empathy. With mascara running down his cheeks, Ruiz will hit the next pitch, a 92 mph fastball, to deep center for a home run. No one will cheer, but Niese will give Ruiz a knowing nod as he rounds third base.
6. The MLB will name raspberry as the league’s official flavor.
7. Adam Dunn will hit 30 home runs at home. Unfortunately, he will only appear in 15 games spread across three months.
8. In June, Ben Revere will draw a walk. Because it will be his first walk ever, he will be unsure what to do, so he remains in the batters box an additional four pitches before dribbling an opposite-field ground ball single. He is seen to exhale a sigh relief upon reaching first base.
9. After a second wave a major injuries, the New York Yankees will hire Reginald Competes Constance, an outfielder in the independent leagues. When he makes his major league debut April 3, the Red Sox players and manager will protest, saying, “Dogs can’t play ball! Dogs can’t play ball!” After a brief conference with the other umpires, home plate umpire Joe West will declare, “Ain’t no rule says a dog can’t play ball!” Reginald will go 1-for-4 with a walk and an infield single. By the All-Star break, the switch-hitting golden retriever will have a .200/.350/.391 slash with 2 inside-the-park home runs and 1 ejection for peeing on third base.
10. Before a May 17th game between the Rangers and Tigers, pitcher Justin Verlander will meet with the Rangers starting pitcher, Yu Darvish, in the secret underground hallway linking the visitor clubhouse to the Rangers clubhouse. Verlander will smother a glowing cigarette under his Timberland size 13 boots. Darvish, half veiled in shadows, will toss a sealed manila package to Verlander. Inside, a single sheet of paper with a series of numbers and letters. A single block of text, like bricks of an ink retaining wall. “Cheers,” Darvish will say in his native British accent and then disappear into the shadows. The Rangers will go on to lose 15 of the next 18 games. Verlander, meanwhile, will begin traveling the world the between starts. “We have advised him against it,” then-Tigers manager Jim Leyland will say. “As long as he makes his starts,” then-Tiger GM David Dombrowski will say with a shrug, though the USA Today will report the Tigers front office dislikes the traveling, and the Tigers have privately made plans to ensure futures contracts require players to abstain from world travel and purchasing Concorde jets. The day before Verlander’s final July start, he will be arrested in Tunisia for robbing a heretofore unknown Phoenician grave site. Tunisian police allow Verlander extradition upon his relinquishing certain artifacts to the government and paying a DT 16 million (appr. $1,000,000 US) fine. Meanwhile, the Rangers will avoid their second 12-game losing streak after a pinch-hit, bases-clearing infield single and error from Yu Darvish. During Verlander’s final July start, TMZ reporters will sneak aboard Verlander’s Concorde jet and photograph his luggage. His bags will contain only a toothbrush, a tube of Crest whitening toothpaste, a still-decaying Phoenician skull with rubies in its eye sockets and the Latin word “tempus” carved across the forehead, two pairs of khaki shorts, a Hawaiian t-shirt, a Detroit Lions QB Dan Orlovsky shirsey, and a first baseman’s mitt. Verlander finishes second in NL Cy Young voting, and receives no MVP votes.
Bradley writes for FanGraphs and The Hardball Times. Follow him on Twitter @BradleyWoodrum.