In recent years, Major League Baseball has undeniably seen its share of variety.
New teams and faces have taken the stage, and history books have not just been rewritten, but they have been replaced.
It started in 2001 when the Yankee Empire, who had just won three straight World Series, was replaced by the fastest team to go from expansion to champion—the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The 2002 season marked the sighting of Angels in the outfield in a classic seven-game World Series between Anaheim and Barry Bonds’ San Francisco Giants.
In 2003, inexperienced youth conquered veteran winning machines as the Florida Marlins won their second World Championship in seven years the over 26-time World Series Champion New York Yankees.
The Bronx Bombers fell short once again in 2004 in record-breaking, ultimate choking fashion as they lost a three-game lead in the American League Championship Series to the ever-popular, ever-cursed Boston Red Sox.
Big Papi, Manny Ramirez, an unmatchable starting rotation and first year coach, Terry Francona, led the Red Sox past the Yankees and on to a sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals in the Series, erasing 86 grueling years for Red Sox fans and Red Sox Nation.
Not to be outdone, the White Sox of southside Chicago had their own curse to break as their unorthodox fearless leader, Ozzie Guillen, knocked off the Astros in 2005 in what was Houston’s first ever World Series appearance.
It was the Sox’s first championship since 1917, erasing haunting memories from their own cheating scandal in 1919 involving “Shoeless" Joe Jackson.
2006 saw the return and resurgence of two of the oldest and most prestigious baseball franchises: the St. Louis Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers. The Cardinals celebrated their 11th World Series title, outlasting the Tigers, who hadn’t had a winning season since 1993.
86-years was literally a lifetime for most Red Sox fans, but after breaking the curse in 2004 Boston won another World Series championship in 2007.
The Colorado Rockies were on fire at the right time, ending their season on a tear, winning their first playoff series and National League pennant in franchise history, only to fall short of the experienced Red Sox in a short-lived World Series.
And finally, last season continued its production of brand new teams in the spotlight, as the Tampa Bay Rays shed their demons, stepped out of the American League basement, and impressively strolled into the World Series against the Championship-plagued city of Philadelphia.
Phillies’ shortstop Jimmy Rollins, made good on his guarantee and citizens of the “City of Brotherly Love” rejoiced for the first time since 1983.
So, with the last several years being truly unpredictable, whose turn will it be in 2009 to surprise baseball fans and hoist the World Series trophy?
Well, loosen your face muscles, because this list of predictions is sure to raise some eyebrows and drop some jaws:
East: New York Yankees
Central: Cleveland Indians
West: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Wild Card: Minnesota Twins
East: New York Mets
Central: Chicago Cubs
West: Los Angeles Dodgers
Wild Card: Cincinnati Reds
Yankees vs. Twins (Yankees in 4)
Indians vs. Angels (Indians in 5)
Yankees vs. Indians: Yankees in 6
Mets vs. Reds (Mets in 5)
Cubs vs. Dodgers (Dodgers in 5)
Mets vs. Dodgers (Dodgers in 7)
Yankees vs. Dodgers (Yankees in 6)
World Series MVP: Mark Teixeira
American League Awards
Cy Young: (CLE) Carlos Pavano (18-4, 2.42 ERA)
MVP: (CLE) Grady Sizemore (.323, 31 HR, 129 RBI)
Manager: (CLE) Eric Wedge (91 Wins)
National League Awards
Cy Young: (NYM) Johan Santana (20-6, 2.55 ERA)
MVP: (LAD) Manny Ramirez (.304, 35 HR, 144 RBI)
Manager: (CIN) Dusty Baker (Wild Card)