If you read Sunday's edition of The Beacon News, you probably noticed that legendary sportswriter Bill Kindt predicted an All-Chicago World Series.
Now, for those of you who know Bill, that probably comes as a bit of a shock. He's notoriously pessimistic about the pro teams we cheer for around here.
I can just hear his voice in my head, "They'll find a way to screw this up. They're a Chicago team! Chicago teams always blow it!"
For the most part, through the years, he's been right.
While I'm glad that semi-retirement has made Bill a little more optimistic, I'm going to have to go ahead and disagree with his prediction.
I'll take the safe route and predict that both Chicago teams will finish in third place.
Hey, historically, the odds are with me!
I think the pitching staffs on both sides of town are top-heavy and profoundly mediocre. Neither looks deep enough to carry a team to a World Series.
If we combined the two, it might work. Take Mark Buehrle and Javier Vazquez from the South Side and Carlos Zambrano and Ted Lilly from the North. Maybe let Jose Contreras and Rich Hill share that fifth spot in the rotation.
Then, we might have something.
Who knows? Maybe one of the two teams will catch lightning in a bottle and make a run to the playoffs and the World Series. Funny things happen in baseball.
But both? In an All-Chicago World Series?
I'll believe that one when I see it. If Bill reads this, I hope he will be proud of my pessimism.
So, which teams am I picking?
As The Sporting News said on the cover of its baseball preview edition, "It's the AL's world. The NL is just living in it."
Three of the last four World Series have resulted in sweeps for the AL team. From my perspective, you can expect more of the same this year.
The five best teams in baseball reside in the American League: Anaheim, Cleveland, Boston, Detroit and New York.
This will be the year the Yankees finally miss the playoffs. They are going to regret letting Joe Torre go.
The other four that I listed above will make the playoffs, and Anaheim will make the World Series.
(I still call them Anaheim because I don't like to type out the "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" every time I refer to them.)
Boston's pitching isn't quite as good as it was last year. Age is catching up with Curt Schilling and Tim Wakefield. Josh Beckett stayed healthy last year. Will he again? Don't bank on it.
Of course, the Angels need to get their rotation healthy as well. John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar are out with injury right now, leaving Jon Garland as the ace.
I like Garland, but he's a No. 3 starter. I think, though, the Angels will get healthy and win with a deep lineup that includes Vlad Guerrero, Torii Hunter, Garret Anderson, Chone Figgins and Howie Kendrick.
In the NL, hey, somebody's gotta win, and I'm not picking the Mets. Johan Santana or not, that team is too old. Geritol for everyone in that clubhouse!
My playoff teams are Atlanta, Cincinnati (In Dusty We Trusty!), Arizona and Colorado.
I'll take the Diamondbacks to win the NL pennant. Can you beat a top two of Brandon Webb and Dan Haren in the rotation?
I think Haren is better than Webb, a former Cy Young winner.
Anaheim over Arizona in the Series.
The AL still rules.