After consulting four clairvoyants, three gypsies, two dream analysts, one ouija board, a Magic 8 ball, and a séance resurrecting the spirits of Babe Ruth and Casey Stengel, I am prepared to offer predictions for the 2018 baseball season certifiably guaranteed to occur…well…maybe…or perhaps in some alternate universe, a distorted reality or fun house mirror.
Where’s Karnak the Magnificent when you need him?
Drum roll, please…
1. FIRST WHIFFS, WALKS, AND WHACKS
A major league mark is set on Opening Day, as ten of the 15 openers see starters strike out at least 17 batters, walk seven and give up six home runs. Four infielders and nine outfielders find it unnecessary to even bring their gloves onto the field.
2. YANKEES RECORD WINS
The New York Yankees will win an astounding, and record 125 games this season only to be flabbergasted when the Seattle Mariners, ironically enough, take them down in a five game ALDS.
Okay, yes, having the Mariners in the ALDS is only a Seattle pipedream, but hey, that would be ironic retribution.
3. GIANCARLO ALMOST BONDS WITH BARRY
Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton spends the first five months of the season on pace to break Barry Bonds’ home run record of 73 jacks in one year but falls just short with ten days left and 69 homers on the books with a fractured pinky suffered when fishing for marlins on an off day.
4. MINOR LEAGUE MARATHONS
Some 37 minor league games tied after nine innings pass without any runners scoring from purposely placed second in extra innings until Dominic Smith wobbles in with the winning run for the Las Vegas 51s. Phillip Evans earns the distinction with an RBI single.
5. LONDON CALLING
Prince Harry postpones his May wedding so he can travel to the U.S. and “scout” the Yankees and Red Sox for next summer’s London series.
6. CALLING ALL BULLPENS
Bullpen cars return to the ballparks, but the practice is soon abandoned after four cars break down on their way to the mound. The PEP Boys are pleased with an increase in business.
7. METS MAKE SIX
The New York Mets starting rotation of Noah Syndergaard, Jacob deGrom, Matt Harvey, Zack Wheeler, and Steven Matz shock all the prognosticators by staying completely healthy through the All Star break, and even add Jason Vargas to the mix by May as the first ongoing six-man rotation, a trend soon adopted by several other teams.
8. A PLAW-SIBLE STORY
Mets catcher Kevin Plawecki makes his first All-Star team as the third receiver, and wins the MVP award with a bases loaded double in the bottom of the ninth to win the game after pinch-hitting for Daniel Murphy.
Well, it could happen, couldn’t it?
9. HARPER FOR TROUT
At the trading deadline in July, the Washington Nationals trade Bryce Harper to the LA Angels for Mike Trout, straight up. The Angels then lock up Harper for ten years and a record $352 million contract. That Arte Moreno doesn’t care how much he spends, does he?
Pretty crazy, but crazier things have happened, haven’t they?
10. PETE STEALS A PLAQUE
Pete Rose crashes the Hall of Fame Induction ceremony in July and grabs the microphone at the podium shouting, “Hey, what about me?”
11. RENEWABLE BONDS
The San Francisco Giants retire Barry Bonds’ number in August, but then agree to activate him in September when several of their outfielders suffer season-ending injuries. Bonds hits 12 more home runs in the final month of the season.
12. TIM JETS IN
The NY Mets trade Tim Tebow to the NY Jets in September when all of the Jets’ other quarterback options fail. Tebow completes his ‘18 season batting .212, but with 18 home runs, 65 RBIs, 111 strikeouts, and a smile on the face of every fan he interacted with.
The Mets receive Bryce Petty in the trade, who goes on to pitch two no-hitters for the Binghamtom Rumble Ponies.
13. MIKE’D UP AGAIN
Mike Francesca announces he’s done broadcasting after becoming a special assistant to Brian Cashman so he can root for his Yankees from the GM’s box.
14. CUBS vs. RED SOX IN OCTOBER
Fox TV officials are ecstatic that the World Series achieves record ratings for these two storied franchises, and yet, it is the lowest attended Fall Classic in over six decades based from the two smallest ballparks in the majors.
15. DONNIE FALL-BALL
Don Mattingly is named NL manager of the Year for somehow leading the Miami Marlins to a “successful” unsuccessful season with his young, low-paid roster, avoiding 100 losses with a 63-99 season.
Derek Jeter fires him the next day.
Well, that’s what the tea leaves read. And then I woke up.
Enjoy the season, everyone.