Sunday, April 01, 2007


Yes, it's that time of year again. The 2007 baseball season starts tonight with a game between last year's NLCS teams, the Mets and Cardinals. Tomorrow brings the openers for the White Sox and Cubs and a bunch of other teams and by Tuesday, every team will be in on the action. There is an episode of "Baseball Tonight" on at 11:30 and again tonight at 6:00. I will probably DVR "The Amazing Race: All-Stars" (and guilty pleasure "Girls Next Door") so I can watch the game tonight. Obviously, I love baseball.

Every year I try to read a baseball-related book before the season starts to help get me in the mood. Last week I read Fantasyland by Sam Walker. It's an account of the author, a sports columnist for The Wall Street Journal, playing in the country's most preeminent fantasy baseball league, Tout Wars. The competitors are in the business of "touting" players and publish books or run websites about baseball that many fnatasy players consult to try and get a leg up in their own leagues. Walker brings in two people to help him and his season becomes a dichotomy between looking at baseball by the numbers and from the heart. It's a very different look at a baseball season and is highly entertaining.

I've only played fantasy baseball once, back in 2005. I found I wasn't able to devote the time to keeping up with it. I also don't need it to carry me through games that don't feature my favorite teams; I love the game enough and know the players well enough from all teams to find enjoyment in watching any baseball game. I will say that reading this book made me think about trying fantasy baseball again this year but with everything I have going on, there's not much point. And there's always next year, right?

Turning from fantasy to reality, what is this season going to bring? I read the baseball preview issue of Sports Illustrated and I also have the same from ESPN The Magazine on hand, though I haven't yet read it. How do they compare and where do they place the White Sox and Cubs?

SI predicts...

AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Indians
AL West: Angels
AL Wild Card: Red Sox
ALCS: Angels over Yankees

NL East: Mets
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Dodgers
NL Wild Card: Braves
NLCS: Dodgers over Mets

World Series: Angels over Dodgers

White Sox - 3rd in AL Central
Cubs - 2nd in NL Central

EPSN The Magazine predicts...

AL East: Red Sox
AL Central: Tigers
AL West: Angels
AL Wild Card: Indians

NL East: Mets
NL Central: Cardinals
NL West: Dodgers
NL Wild Card: Phillies

World Series: Tigers over Mets

White Sox - 4th in AL Central
Cubs - 3rd in NL Central

Lots of similarities and more than a few differences. Neither magazine has the Chicago teams making the playoffs. It will be an interesting summer for the Sox and Cubs. Both appear to have offenses that will get the job done but both have questionable pitching staffs. We'll see. I'll be watching as much as I can but as always, the White Sox will be my priority. I'm ready for the season to start...

No comments: