Sydney, Australia. Amidst all the pre-season pedantry of the media, making their predictions of the bold post-season variety, is the recurring opinion that your 2016 Boston Red Sox aren't looking anything like contenders. Pundits from Maine to Miami are asserting that Anytown, USA has a better shot at reaching the Fall Classic than Boston. Of course, their reasoning seems largely specious and appears to have evolved from reheated media judgments and subsequent barroom hash-ups of the original opinions. And opinions – well, everyone’s got one, as they say. If anyone ever listened to - and passed on - the opinions of this aging scribe, the Herald and Globe would be sagely reporting that the Olde Towne Team is indeed a veritable leadpipe cinch to win the 2016 World Series.
All this is utter nonsense, of course. Just some knucklehead's opinion spun into a lot more than it's actually worth. If you want to get a much more realistic idea of Boston's chances of a World Series win, do what I did - visit that latter day Cibola, City of Gold - Las Vegas, Nevada - and consult the real experts.
The charming and reliable Vegas bookies had Boston at 12 to 1 last time I checked (2Apr) and the Cubs were at 9 to 2. And the much-vaunted Blue Jays were sitting at 18 to 1! What I'm tryin’ ta tell ya, Al, is simplicity itself - while Pee Wee Rosenthal has us in the cellar for the third consecutive year, the Vegas Brains Trust says it's us or the Cubbies. By the way, what's with those bowties? The only time a man should wear a bowtie is when he's in a tuxedo, consarn it!
Anyway, the published Red Sox opinion will vary significantly depending on what tube you venture into on the interwebs - even more so when the parental lock has been applied. I prefer to place my faith in that old money-where-mouth-is concept. All those guys with the green eyeshades in Vegas don’t just make these odds up, now, do they?
So what’s my point?? Like me, it’s pretty simple – there’s not a being on the planet that can say – with any degree of certainty – just who will win the World Series. Prior performance sure doesn’t enter into the equation – because there’s no equation to be applied! The winner is determined, rather cosmically, I think, by a confluence of events that will unfold randomly over the course of 162 games, in different states at differing times and under a wide range of meteorological conditions. There might even be bees. The ace starter will develop a case of the yips while the old stager will have the season of his life. Someone will spend a month on the DL – you can bet on that – but someone will step up and start crushing the ball. The team projected as a season-long tenant of the cellar will surge ahead. And come the All Star break, all those wise predictions made in March will be conveniently forgotten as the media re-crafts its old opinions right before your very eyes and you won’t notice a gosh dern thing. All of this is – right and properly - in the laps of the baseball Gods, just like it is every year. So, buy your tickets and get ready for April. This could be it.