Derek Jeter will get his 3,000th hit.
Adrian Gonzalez will finally get to Fenway Park.
The Phillies, who learned that a Big 3 wasn't enough, will show off their Big 4.
And, if all goes well, the World Series will be played in Milwaukee.
|Derek Jeter getting hit No. 3,000 vs. the Red Sox would be a big deal. (Getty Images)|
No, that's not right, because as any Giants fan can tell you, my predictions aren't worth a thing.
So instead of predictions for this year, I'm going with a list of places I'd like to be and things I'd like to see.
Some you'll like. Some you won't.
And on some, you're certain to tell me that I'm nuts.
World Series in Milwaukee?
No, it's not a prediction, although I do believe it could happen. It's more a wish, even though I've (a.) never thought of myself as a Brewers fan, and (b.) never thought I'd be asking to spend late October in Wisconsin.
So why the Brewers, and why this year?
The Brewers, because the fans keep showing up for a team that hasn't been to the World Series since 1982 (only the Cubs, Mariners, Pirates and Nationals/Expos have waited longer). The enthusiasm shown by Brewer fans for their lone recent playoff appearance (in 2008) was amazing, especially since the team won just one playoff game and hasn't made it to the playoffs since.
This year, because with Zack Greinke arriving a year before Prince Fielder almost certainly leaves as a free agent, the window for winning big might not be open for long. We saw this with the Rays, who went all out to try to win in 2010, because they knew they'd be losing Carl Crawford and the entire bullpen after the season.
The Rays didn't win (and their fans didn't respond, anyway). The Brewers could win (and if they do, there's no doubt their fans will respond).
But that's for October. We've got a whole year of baseball before then, and here's where I want to be to see it:
1. The Adrian Gonzalez home opener, Yankees at Red Sox, April 8. For years, everyone in New England has insisted that Gonzalez was perfect for Fenway Park, that he was meant to play at Fenway. Now I want to see it. And if he doesn't go 5 for 5 with at least a couple of doubles off The Wall, then I'm not going to be convinced.
2. When the pennant goes up in the City, Cardinals at Giants, April 8. No, I can't be in two places -- on opposite coasts -- at once. But I'll count on someone else to tell me whether everyone in the Giants organization made it through the entire winter without ever losing that smile that appeared on that November night in Texas.
3. When Ozzie blows up in the Second City, Orioles at White Sox, April 29. We know there's going to be an Ozzie Guillen-Kenny Williams blowup at some point. We know that one of these Ozzie-Kenny blowups probably ends with one of them leaving the organization. Maybe it won't be this one. Maybe there won't even be an April 29 blowup on the South Side. But with the White Sox coming off an 11-day, 11-game trip to Tampa Bay, Detroit and New York, this sure seems like a good day to watch out for.
4. The end of the McCourts, Giants at Dodgers, May 18. File this under wishful thinking, but maybe this is the day when we find out that the McCourt family (can they still be considered a family?) are finally going to sell the Dodgers. General manager Ned Colletti had a good winter, under trying circumstances, but if the Dodgers are to have any chance against the Giants and Rockies in the NL West, new ownership is a must.
5. Cliff Lee comes to New York, Phillies at Mets, May 27. So here's the question, Mets fans: Is Cliff Lee a hero for saying no to the hated Yankees, or a villain for his love for the hated Phillies? I'm guessing more villain than hero -- and I'm guessing that Lee and a whole bunch of people in Philly won't care. And I'm guessing that by the end of the year, the Mets are going to be a lot more worried about finishing ahead of the Nationals than about catching the Phillies -- and that their fans will have long since stopped showing up at Citi Field, no matter the opponent.
6. The shortstop at 3,000, Red Sox at Yankees, June 9. Jeter will need a good first couple of months to get to 3,000 this soon (he starts the year at 2,926), but wouldn't it be more appropriate for him to reach the milestone against the Red Sox than against, say, the Rockies two weeks later? It's a big deal, in any case, because of the 27 players in the 3,000-hit club, the only one who got there while still playing shortstop was Honus Wagner, in 1914 (thanks to Dave Smith of retrosheet.org for help with the research).
7. Gibby and Tram come home, Diamondbacks at Tigers, June 24. For three mostly miserable years with the Tigers, Alan Trammell was the manager, with best friend Kirk Gibson as his bench coach. Now they're back together in Arizona, this time with Gibson as the manager and Trammell as the bench coach. They're probably both better suited for this setup, and they'll probably both get a little emotional about taking their team to Comerica Park for this interleague series.
8. This can't be the end, right? Cubs at Cardinals, Sept. 25. It's hard to imagine the Cardinals without Albert Pujols. It's harder to imagine the Cardinals without Tony La Russa. It's impossible to imagine La Russa in St. Louis without Pujols. Chances are, the Cards get Pujols signed to a contract extension well before this final home game of the season, but if they don't, then he'll be headed for free agency and this really could be it. The same goes for La Russa, but that's not exactly new. He's reached the end of the season with his return uncertain before. The difference now is that with Bobby Cox's retirement, no manager in baseball is as associated with his team as La Russa is with the Cardinals.
9. A wild (card) day, Sept. 30. More wishful thinking. It seems now that commissioner Bud Selig is on board with adding a second wild card team in each league, if not this year, then at least in the near future. The next step is for Selig to understand that a second wild card works best -- works only? -- with a one-game, winner-take-all playoff between the two wild cards. It sets up a great day to start the playoff season, and it rewards teams for actually winning divisions by devaluing the wild card. It helps make September more meaningful, and gives us a great start to October.
10. The Wisconsin World Series, Oct. 22. Hopefully that new contract that baseball signed with Anheuser-Busch doesn't have a clause prohibiting World Series games from being played at Miller Park. And hopefully it won't be too cold in Milwaukee, because while Miller Park is covered, it's not heated.