The crack of the bat, the smell of the grass, and the neat assembling of 17 syllables to describe each MLB team's 2014 forecast. Yes ladies and germs, for the fourth year in a row please enjoy some baseball haiku. Granted, the Dodgers and Diamondbacks played their first game over a week ago, but for 28 other clubs Day One is still ahead. Feel free to disagree with poetic license in the comments section below:
(asterisks note wild cards)
1. Red Sox. This Lazarus act/has a tough act to follow/can't slump at Fenway.
2. Yankees*. Big spenders again/strong, but nowhere near elite/as old legs buckle.
3. Rays. If the Price is right/these overachievers will/sting the East again.
4. Orioles. This deep division/the margin of error here/is close to zero.
5. Blue Jays. Any improvements?/not the pitching, though the bats/have power to spare.
1. Tigers. Heavily favored/despite no chemistry; they're/tops in a weak bunch.
2. Royals*. Three decades without/glory; the schneid ends if the/pitching can hold up.
3. Indians. Santana to third/seems like a logical move/but who's the shortstop?
4. Twins. Minor improvements/does not a contender make/the youth must grow up.
5. White Sox. Jose Abreu/blue-chip Cuban sandwiched in/a full youth movement.
1. Athletics. Gray weather forecast/A's fans expect Sonny skies/and playoff glory.
2. Rangers. The one Washington/that gets anything done is/now on the hot seat.
3. Angels. Underacheivers/hardly anyone earns their/paychecks except Trout.
4. Mariners. So they have Cano/and a switch-hitter surplus/they're not legit yet.
5. Astros. Worst is over, but/when Scott Feldman is your ace/dim expectations.
1. Nationals. First by happenstance/after '12 hangover, Nats/get pesky again.
2. Braves*. Mourn the rotation/if you want; their bats will give/Atlanta some hope.
3. Phillies. Pretend contenders/a team without direction/overhaul, A-SAP!
4. Mets. Some optimism/in Queens; the question is, do/they have the Wright stuff?
5. Marlins. Room for improvement/these raw youngsters might surprise/but they're years away.
1. Cardinals. A strange dilemma/they have too many good arms/and too little time.
2. Pirates*. Feisty, resurgent/Roger is jolly again/Wild Card beckons.
3. Reds. Billy Hamilton/thief extrodinaire, young gun/high expectations.
4. Brewers. Ryan had fake brawn/Hebrew Hammer, nailed again/blemishes young squad.
5. Cubs. "Wait until next year"/always applies to Wrigley/sleeper in '15?
1. Dodgers. Already quite good/but if HanRam is healthy/they're unstoppable.
2. Giants. Health is crucial here/if San Fran wants to contend/in the wild West.
3. D-Backs. Many injuries/Corbin, B-Mac, Arroyo/so don't expect much.
4. Padres. With a stealth infield/Friars won't need miracles/to chase .500.
5. Rockies. No Chacin, no arms/plus burly offense equals/high scoring train wrecks.
NL Rookie of the Year: Billy Hamilton, Reds
AL Rookie of the Year: Nick Castellanos, Tigers
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, Mariners
NL MVP: Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
AL MVP: Mike Trout, Angels
First Manager Fired: Mike Scioscia, Angels
2014 World Series: Los Angeles over Boston in 7