OK. Let's cut the charade. If I picked the divisions again this year, you know who I'd end up picking to win everything. So I'm going outside the box this year with some bold predictions. And I'll stay away from most things involving the Mets.
Also, I'm running out of time to go on the record with any kind of picks...season starts in less than a week, and I can't believe I'm finally writing that.
So, without further ado - my first Bold Prediction for 2009 is: Neither the Red Sox nor the Yankees will win the 2009 World Series.
I am aware of the tremendous social risk I take in writing that. Sad as it is, 80% of my readers are Red Sox or Yankees fans (God bless you, Steve in Queens, for knocking down that percentage). But I'm not making the pick to spite you all, or because I hold any sort of grudge that in the 23 seasons since the Mets last won a World Series you all have celebrated 6 world championships and a couple of other league championships, as well as plenty of playoff appearances.
In fact, one of those teams, and quite possibly both, will probably make the playoffs. It will in all probability be the Yankees. But I don't think either team wins the World Series this year. Or even gets there.
It's wrong to base assumptions on the World Baseball Classic, but I think part of the WBC was a harbinger of things to come for the Red Sox. Lots of little tweaks from Kevin Youkilis to Dustin Pedroia...and I feel like it's going to be that type of year in Boston. I feel like someone will be suffering from some kind of nick or bruise most of the year, and they'll never really get to the point where they are as good as they've been the past couple of years. Which means they'll still be good, but not championship-level good.
As for the Yankees, I feel like they have the potential to be this year's version of last year's Tigers. They could be a huge disappointment. Of course, they could get everything to go right and be the best team ever...but these types of spending sprees never seem to go that way, do they?
So I think the age on some of the Yankees will catch up to them (Jeter, Damon, Pettitte, Posada), and that will be a little too much for the new guns to make up for.
I'm not sure who exactly will win the World Series, but I'm feeling pretty confident the AL champ will not come from Boston or New York.