In my ever-supportive household, my family has a popular expression for my annual preseason predictions:
The kiss of death.
Or, to use a word one of my old editors used to drop regularly when those predictions would arrive on his desk ...
So what’s happened to my anointed picks this year shouldn't be a shock to those who have paid attention, which, judging by my Twitter feed, appears to be pretty much all of western civilization.
But even by my standards, which have never been much of a threat to the soothsaying of Miss Cleo, I’m working on what could reasonably described as a disaster.
So I apologize to Daniel Norris of the Blue Jays. He was my AL Rookie of the Year pick. He’s currently wearing the uniform of the mighty Buffalo Bisons. And yes, you’d be correct in observing that’s not an actual major league team, though there's still plenty of time for him to get back to Toronto and rip off about 24 wins in a row. Right?
I also send my most sincere regrets to Mike Redmond of the Marlins, my NL Manager of the Year choice. He then, naturally, almost got fired before the season was three weeks old. It’s a miracle that he didn’t, really. So thanks to Jeffrey Loria and the Marlins brass for having the patience, or whatever it was, to save him from a fate that he could have rightly blamed on, well, me.
Next, I’d like to say I’m sorry to Chris Sale. He was my AL Cy Young pick. He gave up nine runs in a game last week. In three innings. You know when he gave up his ninth run of the season last year? On June 7. In his eighth start of the year. He’d never had a start in his White Sox career in which he coughed up nine runs in a game -- let alone a game of nine runs, nine outs. But it happened this year. Totally my fault.
Jordan Zimmermann of the Nationals was my other Cy Young choice. He gave up eight runs in a game in April. In which he only got seven outs. It was only the third start of his career in which he racked up more runs than outs. So even though he’s been a lot better since, I feel a need to apologize for what happened to him in that game. I’m sure, if I’d picked someone else, he’d have thrown a two-hit shutout, punching out about 16.
And speaking of the Nationals, you might recall that I picked them to win the World Series. I’m sure they think they still can. But when I watched them lose 13 of their first 20, all I could think of was the first word uttered in my house after I dropped that prediction on the world: Doomed.
Also, when I wrote that glowing column explaining why I was picking them to win, I included a remark about how they had an above-average defender at every position except second base. It’s now 25 unearned runs later. In a month of baseball. Oops. Sorry about that. Why do I feel as though I just dipped all their gloves in cast iron or something?
I should probably mention here that my two MVP choices -- Giancarlo Stanton and Josh Donaldson -- appear to have risen above the Stark Curse so far. So I’m taking that as proof that I’m not always wrong about everything, as opposed to what you’re probably thinking: That they’re both about to go 0-for-their-next-97.
But can I just apologize now for whatever IS about to go wrong for those two? It would be easier to do that than to write this blog again in a few weeks.
All I can say is: I mean well. Really. I take the prediction business seriously. I think about it for weeks. I ask people in baseball for their help. I crunch numbers. I analyze metrics. I try hard not to have this happen (every stinking year).
But I give up. I just can’t help it, apparently. Is there any chance that, before all future seasons, I can get a job predicting PAST seasons instead of seasons that haven’t happened yet? I’m pretty sure I’d be much better at that.
If that’s not possible, though, here’s the one thing I can promise, because the universe needs this reassurance:
I will never, ever pick the Cubs to win the World Series. I tried that twice, too, by the way, once upon a time. But never again. They’re safe from me forever. As for the rest of baseball, though, well, let’s get this out of the way now before things get messy.
I’m sorry. Really.