With the crowning of a new World Series champion, the curtain draws to a close upon the 2018 Major League Baseball season. Or does it?
For the casual fan the season may indeed be over, but for the diehard among us, the curtain is only partially closed.
While some ballplayers return home to begin their off season work-out schedules in preparation for the 2019 MLB campaign, others report to the various fall and winter leagues to further fine tune their games. Then of course there’s the actual business of baseball, which in fact knows no season.
In the short time following the World Series, it’s already been a busy off season. Beginning on Tuesday of this week and wrapping up today is the annual GM Meeting in Carlsbad, Calif., a prelude to the Winter Meetings which are scheduled to take place in Las Vegas, Dec.9-13.
Also, this past Saturday, the free agent market officially opened for business. This year’s special features two of the game’s biggest talents — Bryce Harper and Manny Machado — up for grabs.
While club executives dicker over the business portion of the game, as a baseball writer I find it interesting to look back and compare the expert’s predictions to the actual results of the season. This year in particular proved to be a giant swing and a miss for many who pound the keyboard.
According to Street and Smith’s “America’s Baseball Bible”, this is how the 2018 MLB season should have played out.
In the American League Wild Card, the Minnesota Twins would down the Boston Red Sox! These same Twins would later fall to the Houston Astros in the AL Division Series while the New York Yankees would defeat the Cleveland Indians. Then in the AL Championship Series the Yankees would bypass the Astros to win the AL Pennant.
Over in the senior circuit, the Arizona Diamondbacks would down the St. Louis Cardinals to win the NL Wild Card. In turn, the D-Backs would fall to the Washington Nationals in the NL Division Series, with the Los Angeles Dodgers dispatching the Chicago Cubs. With the NL Pennant on the line, the Nationals would derail the Dodgers to advance to the World Series.
In the 2018 installment of the Fall Classic, the Yankees would emerge victorious over the Nationals. How’s that for pure fiction?
Continuing with Street and Smith’s expert picks, in regards to individual achievements, Carlos Correa was tabbed as AL MVP, with Justin Verlander winning the AL Cy Young Award. Willie Calhoun was selected as AL Rookie of the Year while Aaron Boone was named as AL Manager of the Year.
In the NL, awards were as follows. MVP, Paul Goldschmidt; Cy Young Award, Stephen Strasburg; Rookie of the Year, Ronald Acuna; Manager of the Year, Dave Martinez. So much for the self proclaimed experts; now back to reality.
Looking down the road, on Feb. 21, 2019, the first spring training games will commence, and for what it’s worth, the expert predictions for the upcoming season will follow. Hopefully for those who forecast the future, their batting average will show some marked improvement!
See you at the ballpark.