It's true: Everyone in baseball thinks he can win the World Series. Our spring training Confidential team found that 97.2% of the 110 players surveyed
honestly think they have the roster to hoist the Commissioner's Trophy. Of course, not everyone was adamant, like this pitcher from an unlikely winner:
"If everything breaks right and other teams have injuries or play really bad, we absolutely have a shot." For the truth on all the hot topics in baseball, we
promised anonymity. The intel is yours. By Morty Ain, Patrick Cain, Louise K. Cornetta, Dan Friedell and Stacey Pressman.
WHICH PLAYER DO
YOU THINK WILL BE A
Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo
(12.1%) and Pirates outfielder
Starling Marte (8.8%) got plenty of
votes. But those who like Bruce
Rondon (7.7%) come with the most
interesting commentary. The Tigers'
22-year-old fireballing reliever has
batters lined up who aren't interested
in facing him. "Normally you don't
want a rookie closer," says a veteran
reliever. "But Rondon is scary nasty.
He's as good as the legends about
him throwing 104."
DO YOU KNOW OF ANY
The vast majority answered no (94.6%), with about an equal
split then saying some version of "Nobody would care" or "It
wouldn't bother me, but it would be a problem for other
guys" when asked to elaborate. Then there are the 5.4% who
already know of a gay colleague. "Yes, but that's as far as I
want to go, even if this is anonymous," says one NL player.
WHICH TEAM IS THE
Players have serious opinions on this question. "It's not close: The Red Sox will
be a disaster," says an NL pitcher. "And I bet the pressure builds as the team
spirals too." Counters another pitcher: "New team, new owners, new league -- the
Astros are a complete mess." But those clubs trail one that cut about $160
million from its payroll. "What the Marlins did is a disgrace," says a catcher. "I've
talked to other players. That will be remembered by free agents for a long time."
THE LAST PLAYER
YOU'D EVER WANT TO ADD TO YOUR CLUBHOUSE?
Says an NL pitcher: "I'll go with A-Rod, and I love saying it. For the
money he makes, he brings nothing but headaches. I don't know who
else could be in the conversation." After Alex Rodriguez (28.4%),
another 14.9% tab Texas' A.J. Pierzynski (below left) and a
surprising 10.8% select Brewers star Ryan Braun (center). "Nobody
likes Braun," says an AL slugger. "He cheated, and the only reason
he got off is that the old owner of the team is the commissioner."
WHO HAS THE MOST CREATIVE
Players are loud and clear about the
loudest yappers: Reds second baseman
Brandon Phillips (25.8%) and free agent
utility guy Orlando Hudson (24.7%). Most
players laugh about the two infielders,
saying that even though their mouths
always run, nobody can quite follow what
they say. "It's very close," says an NL
outfielder. "I'll go with Phillips because he's
so creative that I don't even know what
he's talking about. With both guys, though,
it's just a bunch of words."
DO YOU OWN?
More than half of those surveyed
say they don't own any guns.
But the remaining 51
respondents have a total of 258
firearms among them (5.1 per
gun-owning player), for an
overall average of 2.4 per player.
"Let me ask you something," says
a potential Cy Young Award
winner. "If you were rich and
famous and your salary was in
the newspaper every week, would
you worry about your wife and
kids? That's why I have guns."
WHO WILL WIN THE
The top three favorites all come from the AL, with votes for the
Blue Jays (18.4%), Angels (12.6%) and Tigers (10.7%) making
it clear which league has the upper hand. "I still can't believe
the Angels didn't win the World Series last year, and now they
have Josh Hamilton," says one AL veteran. "But top to bottom,
the Blue Jays are stacked and the more complete team."