Red Sox Nation rejoice! Buoyed by the additions of speedy outfielder Carl Crawford, All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and a revamped bullpen, Boston is my pick to win this year’s World Series. The title will be their third since 2004. Gritty second baseman Dustin Pedroia will take home Most Valuable Player honors in the Fall Classic.
Joining them in the American League playoffs will be division champions Detroit and Oakland. The Minnesota Twins will capture the AL Wild Card after defeating the New York Yankees in the Bronx, 3-2, in Game 163.
In the National League, the Milwaukee Brewers will win their first division title since 1982, while the Phillies and Rockies capture their respective divisional crowns. Like Minnesota , Colorado will need an extra game to secure their postseason berth. But after a thrilling 5-4 win in 11 innings at Coors Field over the division rival Giants, the Rockies will advance to play the Phillies.
The Senior Circuit’s Wild Card entry—and its eventual pennant winner—will be the Atlanta Braves. In their first year in the post-Bobby Cox era, they will upset favored Philadelphia to meet the Red Sox in the World Series, only to lose in seven games.
Want to know how your favorite squad will fare? Check out my team-by-team predictions and read on to discover who will take home the hardware in a thrilling 2011 season.
And the award(s) goes to . . .
NL MVP: Ryan Braun, LF, Milwaukee Brewers
AL MVP: Adrian Gonzalez, 1B, Boston Red Sox
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies
AL Cy Young: Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox
NL Rookie of the Year: Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta Braves
AL Rookie of the Year: Tsuyoshi Nishioka, 2B/SS, Minnesota Twins
NL Manager of the Year: Ron Roenicke, Milwaukee Brewers
AL Manager of the Year: Bob Geren, Oakland Athletics
Factoid of the Week
Courtesy of the fantastic Howard Fineman, senior political editor at The Huffington Post:
Fact: Newt Gingrich has 100,000 friends on Facebook. Mitt Romney has 800,000. And Barack Obama? 18.5 million.
Analysis: That massive advantage augurs a dominate organizational tool for the upcoming 2012 presidential campaign.
Factoid of the Week (Redux)
Fact: Only two (2!) entries among 5.9 million brackets in ESPN’s Tournament Challenge nailed the correct Final Four in this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Analysis: First a huge shout out to my ex-YMCA basketball teammate Shaka Smart. I always knew you had it in you! And given that astounding statistic, I guess having two of the four teams—Kentucky and Connecticut—in my bracket isn’t, well, half bad!
Finally national television reporters—specifically Meet the Press host David Gregory—have begun calling out GOP leaders for allowing elected officials of their own party to question the religious affiliation and American citizenship of Barack Hussein Obama. Such racist and anti-Islam talk is beyond the pale. And, sadly, more and more typical of the increasingly belligerent, hateful, and—quite frankly—scary conservatives. The more power these people amass, the more potent and real the consequences of their violence-inciting words become.
Can’t get enough of my wit, wisdom, and good humor? Follow me on Twitter: @nicholasjonwood!