by RICARDO

Pardon my enthusiasm…but baseball is back!

So to all of you ‘competition thirsty’ football fans that need a fix and all of you ‘this season isn’t as good as I thought it would be’ basketball fans, we the lovers of home-runs and field gems are happy to have you on board for however short of a time you may be here.

In case you missed last season’s historic World Series match-up between the championship starved Chicago Cubs and the lowly Cleveland Indians,  the boys that call Wrigley Field home are champions for the first time in 108 years.

Can they repeat?

Are they still good?

How cheap is the booze in and around the stadium now?

All of these question and more will be answered on the next episode of………

LOL!

But seriously, I know some guys on the site have strong dislikes for the sport of Baseball, but opening day is one of my favorite times of the year.

Here is my division by division breakdown and slight, who am I kidding, clear indication of who I think will win it all this year.

AL West

Astros weekly

The story out west in the American League will be all Texas. With two of the league’s most well-constructed rosters, these teams are built for the marathon known as the MLB season.

While one should not overlook the top-heavy LA Angeles, the two Texas teams are all about debt and skill. The Rangers took the division last year in convincing fashion, while the Astros showed up big in big spots. Texas is favored by the odds-makers, but the small ball style of the Astros has me recalling a lot of things I saw from the Kansas City Royals a few seasons back – the Royals won the World Series that year.

The middle-infield combo of Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa may be the league’s best, and if it isn’t, it is certainly top-three. Add to that the mix of a bull-pen capable of winning games when called upon, the Astros a built for a big year.

ASTROS

AL Central

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What the experts will tell you is that the Indians may not be able to recover from their World Series debacle against the Chicago Cubs.

They may be right.

However, I am of the view that no other team in this division can keep up with Indians. There is virtually no way these guys can lose this division. Yes, the Royals are a respectable club and shouldn’t be overlooked, but the Indians are just better at every level where it matters.

I am all in with the Cleveland Indians and my favorite skipper, Terry Francona.

INDIANS

AL East

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Speaking of Francona, his former squad is also primed and ready for a big run – a World Series kind of run.

Let’s face it, a division title for the Blue Jays or Yankees could only come as a result of a rash of major injuries for the Sox’.

If one was to take a deep look at the rosters in the AL East, one would quickly conclude that the youth movement in New York is two years off, the Orioles haven’t been able to put it together for Manny Muchado and the Toronto Blue Jays are not, in my opinion, built for a deep postseason run.

As my father always use to say, ‘time to face facts, bats is only one part of the game, who’s throwing’?

For the Red Sox, well just the second best lefty in the game, Chris Sale; Rick Porcello, remember the name, the stats will shock you at the end of this season; David Price and a little known all-star, Steven Right.

I hate to say it, but face facts, the Red Sox are on course to make up for their poor showing last post-season.

RED SOX

NL West

Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw (22) adjusts his cap between pitches against the New York Mets during the first inning of baseball's Game 4 of the National League Division Series, Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

As long as Clayton Kershaw calls Los Angeles home, my smart money is on the Dodgers winning this division. While the San Francisco Giants are certainly capable of sneaking up on the Dodgers during the back-half of the year and stealing the pennant, I just can’t forsake Mr Kershaw.

DODGERS

NL Central

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I would dare not speak ill of the defending World Series champs. The St Louis Cardinals are nice. The St Louis Cardinals have quality dept. The St Louis Cardinals have quality pitching. But for me, ‘issa no’.

The Chicago Cubs last season did something I thought could never happen. In fact, up until the waning moments of that series last year, I was one leading the coronation of the Cleveland Indians.

But the tenacity of guys like Jake Arrieta, David Ross and Kris Bryant proved me wrong. Ross is gone, but the Cubs roster was and still is stalked with a multitude of guys capable of stepping in multiple positions.

Again, I would not speak ill of the World Series champs.

CUBS

NL East

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Those that know me well know that I am a homer. Teams that I support, I am fully devoted to and rarely bet against them – even my Lakers.

When it comes to baseball, my Mets and the city of Queens is near and dear to my heart.

This year, like much of the last three, I feel like my Mets are built to win it all. Never mind their limited offense, the starting rotation of the Mets is second to none.

Hoping for an injury free year, I think my Mets will not only get by the defending division champs, Washington Nationals, and be a large thorn in the sides of the Chicago Cubs.

METS 

PICKS

Now as promised:

AL Wildcards – Texas Rangers, Toronto Blue Jays

Nl Wildcards – Washington Nationals, San Francico Giants

AL Champs – Boston Red Sox

NL Champs – (heart) New York Mets, (logic) Cubs

World Series Champs – Boston Red Sox

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