It's not wisdom to gack up the lead on Opening Day when you are hosting the most feeble team in your division. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2009 St. Louis Cardinals! (HT Bill Simmons)
With each passing year I have less and less desire to try and prognosticate concerning the outcome of the championship season. However, as a fan, it's hard not to have an opinion about the fortunes of your favorite team, and about the two leagues, as well.
I'm doing this without a net, so you might want to look away.
The Cardinals. Well, what can you say? They have gotten younger (read cheaper) and I get the feeling Albert's going to have to hit quite a few 7-run homers for them to be a contender. The starting pitching is intriguing, I think. The staff has a chance to be pretty good and thereby keep the team competitive. But, I'm not sure about the bullpen and the offense, aside from Pujols, worries me. Let's say third in the NL Central.
Kansas City is going to be fun to watch. We thought last year they were on the right track and it appears they are. Their division is not the powerhouse that it's been of late. I wonder if we might see a five-team scrum there this year, with not many games separating first from fifth. In that scenario, KC stands a chance to steal it, I think. But if somebody, maybe Cleveland or Chicago, gets it together and pulls away, I get the feeling the Royals are still a bit short, improving though, they are.
Boston and the LA Angels look to be the class of the American League, but don't forget about Tampa and Oakland. In the National League, I would expect to see the Mets, Phillies, Dodgers and the Team That Shall Not Be Named as contenders.