Off Base predicts MLB season's second half

Baseball's best pitcher this season is a 37-year-old knuckleballer whose offseason training included climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and writing a New York Times best-seller. A 49-year-old won two games. A teenager hit eight home runs and created a national catchphrase. Ten pitchers have been involved in no-hitters or perfect games, including one for the New York Mets. A player listed at 5-foot-5 made the All-Star Game. Magic Johnson bought the Dodgers.

And in the most stunning development of all, the Pittsburgh Pirates are in first place. Seriously. The Pirates are leading their division!

If the first half was filled with so many delightful surprises, what does the second half of the season hold? Glad you asked.

July 15: Kansas City fans mercilessly boo Royals manager Ned Yost for not starting designated hitter Billy Butler in a day game after a night game.

July 18: Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey continues his remarkable season by pitching a no-hitter, then climbing, without supplemental oxygen, up his team's mountain of debt.

July 20: When Mayor Michael Bloomberg asks whether McDonald's will celebrate Dickey's no-hitter by removing high-calorie, sugar-filled sodas from its Happy Meals sold in New York City, Ronald McDonald responds, "That's a Bryce Harper question, bro."

July 22: Kansas City fans swarm the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies to fill the air with a deafening chorus of boos for the voters who did not elect ex-Royal Joe Randa to Cooperstown.

July 28: During a campaign stop in Seattle, President Obama throws out the ceremonial first pitch before a Mariners game, then stays on the mound and no-hits Seattle 3-0.

• Click here to read the rest of Jim Caple's Off Base column.