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Heart and Head Predict Same Baseball Outcome

NEW YORK - APRIL 04:  US Airways pilot, Captain Chesley 'Sully' Sullenberger throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the start of the game between the  New York Yankees and the Chicago Cubs  on April 4, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Rodd CaytonCorrespondent IApril 5, 2009

Let me start off by saying I'm a New York Yankees fan.

Which wouldn't be a problem, if the Yankees were terrible, or if I expected them to be

For the NFL season, I had no problem predicted my Pewter Pirates would go 5-11. At NBA time, I knew not to project my Knicks into the playoffs.

But the Yankees are not just a good team, but one of the top few teams in Major League Baseball.

So in formulating my 2009 season prediction, I've got to analyze everything and do the best I can to separate what I want from the Yankees from what I expect them to accomplish.

So, the way I see it, this is what the 2009 baseball season will look like.

NL West

1 Los Angeles
2 Arizona
3 Colorado
4 San Diego
5 San Francisco

The skinny:
Year two of the Joe Torre project in Los Angeles should be a little more solid.

The players have some idea of what he wants, and he's getting together the roster that best suits his style of play.

NL Central

1 Chicago
2 St. Louis
3 Cincinnati
4 Milwaukee
5 Houston
6 Pittsburgh

The skinny:
The players the Cubs brought in through free agency are slightly better than what the club lost. Closer Kevin Gregg and .321 hitter Milton Bradley lead the new arrivals.

NL East
1 Philadelphia
2 New York
3 Florida
4 Atlanta
5 Washington

The skinny: The Phillies will come confidently off a World Series season, and I suspect their best players, Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels, have yet to have their best seasons.

Tony LaRussa's a good enough manager to get the Cardinals the wild-card spot.

AL West

1 Los Angeles (Anaheim)
2 Oakland
3 Texas
4 Seattle

The skinny:
Mike Scioscia's team should pull away by early July. Oakland may make it
interesting, but the Angels have the most talent and the best manager in the division.

AL Central

1 Minnesota
2 Detroit
3 Kansas City
4 Chicago
5 Cleveland

The skinny:
This division is likely to be the tightest, but the Twins have the most reliable players in the most important spots. The bats of Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer should be enough. If they can get 40 or more saves out of Joe Nathan, the sky's the limit. Any one of these teams could finish first, though.

AL East

1 New York
2 Tampa Bay
3 Boston
4 Toronto
5 Baltimore

The skinny: The division probably won't be wrapped up until an Oct. 2-4 series in St.
Petersburg, The Yanks' additions, notably CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira, will combine with the previously assembled talent to outlast the Gritty Rays.

Tampa Bay gets The wild-card spot.


The Phillies should beat the Cards in four, while the Dodgers extend the Cubs' misery in five.

In the AL, we'll see the Angels ramble past the Rays in a sweep, while the Twins fall to the Yanks in four.

In the NLCS, The Phillies better chemistry and starting pitching will best the Dodgers' superb management in six.

In the ALCS, The deeper Yankees will squeak past the Angels in seven.

The 2009 World Series will mark the culmination of an era of questions, mostly about Alex Rodriguez, who'll finally shake his big-game critics, and lead the Bronx Bombers to their first title in nine years. If the NL wins the All-Star game, the season will end at the new Yankee Stadium in the fourth game. Otherwise, the sweep will end in Philly.

That's the way I see it. You can ask for yourself how thick you think the tint on my glasses is.

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