2008 is nearly at an end. Hard to believe, but in less than two months there will be players reporting for the World Baseball Classic while other pitchers and catchers will be reporting for Spring Training.
While trying to guess what will happen during the 2009 season is an exercise in futility, it is, none the less, a fun endeavor. I made some predictions last year, with more good ones than bad in the final outcome. I am happy to say that like nearly every sports analyst on the planet, I did not foresee Tampa Bay in the World Series.
Whatâ€™s in store for 2009? Hereâ€™s a stab at playing the Amazing Kreskin.
And the Owner of the Cubs Is? Iâ€™ve been saying this for a while, so I might as well stick to it: The winning bidder will be Thomas Ricketts.
And, How Much Will the Sale Price Be? Itâ€™s clear that this is not an exacting science. Weâ€™re talking about how much one of MLBâ€™s crown jewels is worth to an owner, not necessarily what they are worth. The Cubs, Wrigley Field, and a 25 percent ownership stake in Comcast SportsNet Chicago will go for between $850-$930 million.
The Sale of the Padres â€“ When John Moores sells the Padres, Sandy Alderson will be part of the new ownership group.
Could There Be One More Club Sale? I have had this twitch going for some time that the time was right for another club coming up for sale. No, I did not see the Mooresâ€™ divorce creating the Padres sale. Itâ€™s a long shot, but with the economy the way it is, a club, such as the Pirates may come up for sale. Now, watch my phone and email go off the hook from the Bucs front office denying such a claim.
Opening Down â€“ Opening Day player payroll for 2009 will hover around 2006â€™s figures.
A Date with the Gates â€“ The economy is going to hit MLB. But, with clubs freezing prices and new ballparks coming online in New York, Iâ€™m going to say that MLB will see the third highest attendance levels in history for 2009.
Show Me the Money â€“ This one is going to be tight, but look for MLB to see revenues at, or very close to what they had in 2008 â€“ a record high.
Radio Ga-Ga â€“ MLBAM will release some form of Gameday audio for At Bat for iPhone.
The New Fish Tank â€“ The Marlins will break ground on their new stadium.
More Athletic Support â€“ The Aâ€™s will still be struggling to get Cisco Field off the ground. MLB will work to try and make that happen. Now, whether the Giants are part of the territorial equation is a question up in the air.
Looking for Clemency â€“ Everyone has focused on the PED claims by Brian McNamee, but the real story is Roger Clemens and possibly perjurying himself before members of Congress. Clemens may wind up seeing the inside of a jail cell before 2009 is up, but look for some type of deal to prevent that from happening.
A Tight Bond â€“ By the time it is completed, Barry Bonds will get no more than a hand slap for his supposed perjury before the BALCO grand jury.
What About Bob? It was rumored, so why not predict it? Bob Costas will wind up as part of MLB Networkâ€™s on-air personality stable.
Head East â€“ The NL East will finish in the same order it did in 2008.
The Downward Spiral â€“ Teams that will finish worse than they did in 2008: Phillies, Dodgers, Brewers, White Sox.
The Up and Up â€“ Teams that will finish better than they did in 2008: Mariners, Nationals, Tigers, Giants.
There you have it. Now, go on and say how bad these selections are (you can add your predictions or comments here). As I said, itâ€™s all in good fun, and will certainly make great fodder. The one sure bet for the future is I will most assuredly get more than one of these predictions wrong.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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