Baseball starts today! And I’m excited, even though the
first game will be played in Tokyo, and the season will be clouded
by continuing steroid accusations. The game will feature the worst
(Tampa Bay Devil Rays) and best (New York Death Star) teams in the
league — likely leading to Alex Rodriguez going 7-for-9 with
two jacks into the new Tokyo Dome stands.

Despite some of the negatives, this will be a season of
positives for baseball in its continuing efforts to re-supplant
football as America’s pastime. How do I know this season
won’t be a disappointment? Well, because I know how this
season is going to go, day-by-day. It’s nothing that
I’m trying to flaunt – it’s just an extreme that
makes up for my complete lack of knowledge of college basketball.
So, let my prognosticating begin.

April 4 (real Opening Day): Nomar Garciaparra plays
against Baltimore despite his inflamed right Achilles’
tendon. By the seventh inning, he’s 2-for-3 with five
RBI’s, and the Red Sox are up 10-2. New Boston manager Terry
Francona takes a phone call from Grady Little, who tells him to
keep Nomar in, insisting there is nothing bad that could happen.
Francona puts Nomar in a plastic bubble, pulls Pedro and wins his
first game.

April 5: Detroit is 1-0 after Pudge Rodriguez and Rondell
White combine for two homeruns in their debuts. New utility man
Brandon Inge knocks in three runs as well. Dominik Hasek is in
attendance.

April 11: The Giants play at San Diego. Barry Bonds
lights up for the first three-homerun game of the season. He tests
positive for low cholesterol.

April 16: The Yankees play at Boston. Joe Torre cuts off
Curt Schilling’s non throwing hand and reveals to him that he
is his father. New York takes six of seven games in 10 days as half
of Boston falls into a coma-like state of depression.

May 1: Enjoying a 15-8 April, the Tigers enjoy a rain out
at home against Seattle. Hasek is seen at the ballpark talking with
owner Mike Ilitch and general manager Dave Dombrowski.

May 4: After a 4-for-4 day at the plate (including two
jacks) against the Mets, Bonds is the homerun leader with 18. He
tests positive for having a liver. Mike Piazza officially hears the
15,000th joke about him possibly being homosexual — he
responds by beating up Enrique Iglesias and marrying Anna
Kournikova.

May 27: The Tigers complete a sweep of Kansas City to
take sole possession of first place in the American League Central
Division. Hasek is seen taking batting practice before the
game.

June 7: Interleague play begins. Cincinnati plays at
Oakland. Ken Griffey Jr. single-handedly wins the 3-0 game by going
3-for-4 with three homers, making five over-the-wall catches and by
healing eight different knee injuries that he inquired in that game
alone.

July 1: The Tigers sit eight games up, Pudge is an MVP
candidate and Inge is looking to nab a Golden Glove. Hasek signs a
five-year, $3 million deal to be Paws, Detroit’s mascot.
Hell, Mich., (it is a city) begins to freeze over.

July 13: The All-Star Game is advertised with the catch
phrase, “It doesn’t matter if it counts, it’s the
only All-Star game worth watching.” Bonds and Jason Giambi
each hit a homerun in contest. Bonds tests positive for taking
protein supplements while Giambi shows the world his new 180-pound
frame.

July 23: The Yankees freeze Garciaparra in carbonite and
turn him over to Jabba the Hutt. Mia Hamm is captured by Jabba as
the Yankees sweep the three-game series.

August 6: Barry Bonds hits his 55th homerun against
Chicago. He tests positive for a hang nail. Sammy Sosa’s bat
breaks in the loss to reveal the remains of Steve Bartman.

August 31: Detroit clinches the Central and the NHL goes
on strike.

Sept. 17: Despite losing three to the Yankees, Boston
clinches a playoff spot. Schilling rescues Nomar and Mia from
Jabba’s clutches and declares himself a full-fledged
Jedi.

Oct. 1: Detroit 4, Tampa Bay 3. Despite blowing most of
their lead in the Central, the Tigers clinch with two games
remaining. Steve Yzerman, Pavel Datsyuk, Manny Legace and Brett
Hull all join their Detroit brethren as middle-relief help.

Oct. 5: On the National League side of the playoffs,
Philadelphia plays Houston and San Francisco faces Chicago. In the
American League Divisional, the Tigers begin play against New York.
Top-seeded Oakland begins play against Boston.

Oct.11: Bonds uses steroids for the first time ever in
game three against the Cubs and loses, proving that cheaters never
win. The Cubs, Astros, Yankees and Red Sox all advance.

Oct. 12-21: The Red Sox are down 3-0 when Ewoks put Kevin
Brown’s back out of commission for a game four win. In game
five, the Red Sox ground crew uses blasters to clear the Yankees
off the field and bring the series to 3-2. The next day, Manny
Ramirez and Chewbacca homer off the Yankees to even the series at
three. In the deciding game seven, Schilling throws a perfect game
into the ninth when Steinbrenner offers him a contract to join the
dark side. Schilling refuses as the Boss electrocutes the pitcher
with his hands. Torre throws Steinbrenner into a thousand-foot
crevice, and Schilling completes his perfect game.

Oct. 18: The Astros win in six — Steve
Bartman’s family is reported missing.

Oct. 22: Griffey and Pudge split MVP awards. Inge wins a
Gold Glove. Mark Prior wins a Cy Young, as does Barry Zito.

Oct. 23: Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens combine for four
wins and the World Series title after six games. Boston
spontaneously combusts.

Trust me, it happens.

Kyle O’Neill was wrong about the Big Ten. His argument
for the conference getting screwed over on the lack of bids looks
as good as his bracket right now – women’s bracket,
too. But, Michigan’s still alive and throwing it up strong.
Isn’t that all that really matters? He thought so and can be
reached at
“mailto:kylero@umich.edu”>kylero@umich.edu

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