League baseball preview
By Mark Polishuk
David Bowie is afraid of Americans, but The Gazette isn’t
afraid of writing about the American League.
It was just another off-season for the New York Yankees. Javier
Vazquez, Kevin Brown, Gary Sheffield, Paul Quantrill and Tom
Gordon? Sure, why not. Trading for Alex Rodriguez? Icing on the
cake. The New York lineup is now one of the scariest in history,
and the only thing that can stop the Yankees is if the pressure
of being expected to win at least 110 games gets to them, or
if there are too many egos in the clubhouse.
The Toronto Blue Jays had an outstanding off-season, improving
their bullpen 100 per cent and acquiring Miguel Batista and Ted
Lilly to back-up Roy Halladay in the rotation. It’s a contract
year, so expect huge numbers from Carlos Delgado.
You might wonder why the Boston Red Sox — who added Curt
Schilling and Keith Foulke to their already terrific team — will
fall to third place. It’s all about their failed attempt
to deal for A-Rod. Losing A-Rod is bad enough, but losing him to
the Yankees is like seeing your girlfriend dump you for your most
hated enemy and having to watch them have sex on your lawn every
day. The mental pressure has the BoSox beat before the year even
After six losing seasons, the Baltimore Orioles brought in Miguel
Tejada and Rafael Palmeiro to put some runs on the board. Unfortunately,
their wretched pitching staff will keep them in fourth place.
With all this change in the AL East, it’s comforting to
know that the Tampa Bay Devil Rays will still suck.
For the last couple of years, the Chicago White Sox have had more
talent than anyone else in the division with nothing to show
for it. New manager Ozzie Guillen is a “player’s
buddy” type of boss, so if he can get this bunch of slackers
to play up to their potential, they’ll win.
The Kansas City Royals were a pleasant surprise last year. The
addition of slugger Juan Gonzalez and the Royals’ potential
all-lefty pitching staff might be enough to give K.C. the nod.
The Minnesota Twins are the two-time defending Central champs,
but they suffered major losses in their bullpen. If Shannon Stewart
can’t keep up the MVP-esque production he delivered after
being dealt to the Twins last summer, Minnesota won’t be
The Cleveland Indians are in the middle of one of those “youth
movements” that fans love so much. Unless LeBron James can
play baseball too, the Tribe are still a year away from contending.
After one of the worst seasons in pro sports history, the Detroit
Tigers signed World Series stars Pudge Rodriguez and Ugie Urbina.
They’ll still suck, but now they’ll suck less.
Arte Moreno is the ideal Major League owner. His first act after
buying the Anaheim Angels was to lower beer prices at Edison
Field. His second (and maybe even greater) act was to OK a payroll
increase, which allowed the Angels to sign Vladimir Guerrero
and Bartolo Colon. Guerrero, Jose Guillen and Garret Anderson
make up one of baseball’s best outfields, and the 2002
champs look like they’ll be making another run at a title.
The Seattle Mariners are a well-balanced, veteran club that will
give the Angels all they can handle. There is a rumour they’re
looking to bring back Ken Griffey Jr., so the Mariners will even
be deep at the DL spot.
Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder and Barry Zito are arguably the best trio
of pitchers in baseball, so the Oakland A’s will be competitive.
Their offense, however, is down to Eric Chavez and Billy Beane’s
latest bunch of Moneyball On Base Percentage fiends. Oakland’s
run of division titles will end.
It’s the same old story for the Texas Rangers, as they have
A-Rod, but no pitching... what’s that? They traded A-Rod?
Oh man, they’re screwed.
AL WILD CARD: Toronto
AL CHAMPION: George Steinbrenner will lose it because Anaheim is
going back to the Series.
WORLD SERIES: Anaheim will need the Angels in the outfield to
overcome the years of destiny on the Cubs’ side. In the end,
it will take six games for Chicago to win its first World Series
NEW YORK YANKEES
CHICAGO WHITE SOX
TORONTO BLUE JAYS