March Madness Revisted… For Our 2011 Baseball Predictions

Peyton Manning’s neck injury.

My favorite fantasy sports writer, Mr. Berry, solidly suggested a simple lead sentence (he used Arian Foster’s hamstring, but you get the idea) to gather “accidental”  Google organic clicks. The 4 Guys on Sports column is projected to be a once a week edition soon, so I figured every ESPN click trick (ha) in the book is worth the effort… plus what is there not to love about Peyton.

Ah, but I digress.

The Guys have a lot of sports related traditions, both past activities, like visiting a Big Ten football stadium every year, and current adventures, like hosting a ten team live fantasy football draft, but my favorite current 4 Guys tradition is our annual March Madness Friday. For the past seven years a combination of the 4 Guys on Sports have spent the first Friday of the NCAA tournament drinking beers, eating crazy amounts of food and checking off bracket picks at some TV-loaded restaurant in the Burbs. A tradition that began while we were still in college (and used to start the night before with bar-hopping and late night Taco Bell) has held even as the 4 Guys moved, married, changed jobs and had a share of new-born kiddies.

With that said, one of the best non-alcoholic events of our cherished Friday is making our 4 Guys baseball predictions. March is the perfect time to gather divisional data and forecast Major League Baseball’s finest for the year. Bold assumptions are made and food is the gambling winner’s spoil, but the best part of predictions made in March is reading how crazy close or superbly awful the 4 Guys find a way to figure on the 11′ MLB season. American and National League Most Valuable Player, CY Young and World Series winners are additionally predicted and just to make sure a tie does not go to the runner, we also select the number of Cubbie victories we expect/hope for during the year.

I have the picks listed below with commentary as needed. Keep in mind we have usually counted off one-hands worth of beers before we begin the selection process, so some of us are slightly under the influence when we deliver our Vegas odds.

Mike – history tells us he is a calculated predictor. Calculated the worst on the Diamondbacks. Never under-estimate Gibby.

AL EAST: Boston, Tampa, New York, Baltimore, Toronto

AL CENTRAL: Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit, Kansas City, Cleveland

AL WEST: Texas, Los Angeles, Seattle, Oakland

NL EAST: Philadelphia, Atlanta, Florida, Washington, New York

NL CENTRAL: Milwaukee, St. Louis, Chicago, Cincinnati, Houston, Pittsburgh

NL WEST: San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Colorado, Arizona

Adam – Bold predictions usually lead to some excellent selections potentially followed up by liquid fueled final decisions. He missed on the Mets, but nailed a few divisions as well.

AL EAST: Boston, New York, Tampa, Baltimore, Toronto

AL CENTRAL: Chicago, Minnesota, Detroit, Cleveland, Kansas City

AL WEST: Texas, Oakland, Los Angeles, Seattle

NL EAST: Philadelphia, Atlanta, Florida, Washington, New York

NL CENTRAL: Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Chicago, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Houston

NL WEST: San Francisco, Colorado, Los Angeles, Arizona, San Diego

Chris: He is usually right in the mix on most division predictions and keeps his Cubbie-love to a minimum, but every year he surprises with some forecast and most years it is as messed up as Francisco Liriano’s elbow.

AL EAST: Boston, New York, Tampa, Toronto, Baltimore

AL CENTRAL: Chicago, Minnesota, Detroit, Kansas City, Cleveland

AL WEST: Texas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle

NL EAST: Philadelphia, Atlanta, Florida, New York, Washington

NL CENTRAL: Cincinnati, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Chicago, Houston, Pittsburgh

NL WEST: Colorado, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Arizona, San Diego

Justin: I always find a way to mess up a division bad. Usually it is because I drink a little too much ESPN kool-aid and end up thinking Buck Showalter is absolutely bringing sexy back with his Oriole management, but this year it was more about the lack of chance I took and less about the misses.

AL EAST: New York, Boston, Baltimore, Tampa, Toronto

AL CENTRAL: Chicago, Minnesota, Detroit, Kansas City, Cleveland

AL WEST: Texas, Los Angeles, Seattle, Oakland

NL EAST: Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York, Florida, Washington

NL CENTRAL: Milwaukee, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Chicago, Houston, Pittsburgh

NL WEST: San Francisco, Colorado, Los Angeles, San Diego, Arizona

And for our other predictions we found a way to pretty much select different players and probably still miss on every one of our selections.

AL MVP: Mike (A. Gonzalez), Adam (J. Hamilton), Chris (A. Rod), Justin (R. Cano)

NL MVP: Mike (A. Pujols), Adam (P. Fielder), Chris (R. Howard), Justin (R. Braun)

AL CY YOUNG: Mike (J. Lester), Adam (CJ Wilson), Chris (Sabathia), Justin (F.Hernandez)

NL CY YOUNG: Mike (Halladay), Adam (Halladay), Chris (Greinke), Justin (C.Lee)

WORLD SERIES: Mike (Phillies), Adam (Red Soxs), Chris (Red Soxs), Justin (Yankees)

To end with a laugh… Mike predicted his Cubbies to finish in third place in the Central with, wait for it, 85 wins (one heck of a division). Adam thought the boys in blue would land a cool 78 wins. Chris believed a little Quade love would yield 81 wins and I believed that Carlos Zambrano would ruin my fantasy season and the Cubs would find a way to grind out 75 wins. Sadly we all drank too much from the left field bleachers cause these “bums” are going to be lucky to get to 70 wins at this point in the year.

So, bring it home Steve Goodman…

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