Happy Opening Day ⚾️

Happy Opening Day of Baseball, the day that Astros and Nationals fans alike can feel excited and good about their 0-0 teams. Sure, one team is excited to see prospects arrive in town and the other is raising a championship banner, but what’s the difference? From sea to shining sea, fans have good reasons to put on their team’s hat and feel good. May we all enjoy it.

For Phillies fans like me, we’ve been waiting for today since November 5th. It’s an exciting time to be a fan of the 2022 National League Champions. We welcome newcomers like Turner, Walker, Soto, Kimbrel, and Strahm. We put a blue flag up in center field. We should be a very good team, again. On paper, a playoff team. Maybe a division winner. Maybe another trip to the Fall Classic. Maybe a World Championship. They’re all maybes though, 162 games away. You don’t get to start ahead because of last year. You start all over again.

Anyone who thinks they’re good at predictions is a G*d damned liar. Baseball season is longer and more unpredictable than any other American pro sport. Last year I said the Phillies would bash their way to 90+ wins and an NLCS loss to the Dodgers. Then a long season for Castellanos, a fired manager, major injuries to Harper and Segura, and a bunch of other stuff happened. The Phillies won 87 games and finished third in their division, becoming literally the last team to slide into the playoffs. Then they proceed to steamroll St. Louis, Atlanta, and San Diego on their way to an NL Pennant. Did you pick Aaron Judge to go yard 62 times and win the AL MVP? I doubt it. So many things can and will happen in the next six months. Even if you get a pick or two right, you’d look bad if we made you show your work. No matter how many analytics we have, some things defy our expectations.

And yet I’m going to go ahead out there and throw some ignorant predictions out into existence anyway. Just because it’s fun. Just so some idiot with a spreadsheet can laugh and call me stupid. Honestly, the evidence will say they’re right.

So we’ll start in the AL, where I’ll call Houston (west), Chicago (central), and Toronto (east) as my division winners. I’ll take the Yankees, Guardians, and Mariners as my Wild Cards. I’ll pin my top five in the AL MVP race as Guerrero, Ramirez, Trout, Alvarez, and Rodriguez. The AL Cy Young will go to Cole over Ray, Valdez, Bieber, and De Grom. The AL Rookie of the year will go to Gunnar Henderson of Baltimore. Pedro Grifol of Chicago will be AL Manager of the Year. I’m picking the Cleveland Guardians to win the pennant.

In the NL I’m going to make sure I jinx the Mets (east), Brewers (central), and Dodgers (west) by picking them to win divisions. I’ll take the Phillies, Padres, and Braves to win Wild Cards. I’m picking Acuna to win the NL MVP narrowly over Freeman, Machado, Betts, and Lindor. I’m going with Scherzer to edge out Urias, Verlander, Nola, and Fried for the Cy Young. I’m picking Jordan Walker to win Rookie of the Year for St. Louis. Of course Buck Showalter will win Manager of the Year, he’s a genius. And of course, I’m again going to pick the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the pennant over the Phillies, because that pick turned out okay last year.

Just because I want the world to burn, I’m picking the Cleveland Guardians. Yes guys, to win the World Series.

Some other fun picks for you- Bryce Harper plays first base. Shohei Ohtani is traded to the Mets and leads them in a come from behind division win, passing the Braves and holding off the Phillies, then leaves after the season anyway to go to the Dodgers. Baltimore plays an absurd number of 10-8 games. Arizona finishes ahead of San Francisco. Jacob de Grom makes 26 starts. Pittsburgh finishes ten games better than Washington. Oakland announces their move to Las Vegas. Chicago has two top ten MVP and Cy Young finishers in the AL, but nobody in the top five. Aaron Judge hits 42 homers.

These picks are literally just the first things that popped into my mind. I have no idea.

Play ball ⚾️!

Nobody Should Be Afraid of Little Ronnie DeSantis in 2024

To hear some tell it, both Joe Biden and Donald Trump should be very afraid of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in 2024. The guy who narrowly beat a weak opponent in 2018, with Trump’s unequivocal help, supposedly proved himself by beating a horribly underfunded ex-Republican in a low turnout race in Florida. Pardon my skepticism, but Ron DeSantis is just the latest empty suit GOP Governor we’ll be talking about in a trivia game in ten years. He’s a joke.

There is a portion of the Republican primary electorate that wants to nominate a MAGA Republican without Trump’s baggage. They’re fine with the xenophobia and ignorance, they just think it should be someone not named Trump. For them, Ron DeSantis is the shiny object. He’s a Florida Governor, so they assume he’ll keep Florida safely red while being stronger in other Sun Belt swing states. He bans books, rails against any talk of diversity, preaches isolation politics, and generally satisfies their fetish for “owning the libs.” He’s Trump without Trump, or as we would say at a South Philly cheesesteak establishment, “wiz witout.”

DeSantis also meets the catnip requirement for the DC GOP consultant class too. He’s a Governor. Like Jeb, Kasich, Romney, Pawlenty, Perry, Huckabee, Jindal, Huntsman, or currently Haley is. Everyone of them were underwhelming, even borderline terrible candidates. They all lost. In the last 50 years only two GOP Governors (Reagan and Dubya) won the White House, but yet the DC GOP class thinks an extensive, conservative executive policy record is attractive to the public. Reality suggests the Scott Walkers of the world have little to no appeal.

Little Ronnie DeSantis is a 5-foot-nothing Napoleon Wannabe. He’s Trump with none of the sizzle, or as I call him, Trump Zero. He got elected because the Democrats weren’t smart enough to nominate Gwen Graham, and basically re-elected by default. He’s an election denier, a book banner, rails against “woke” policy, and would be fine surrendering Eastern Europe to Putin, but he lacks Trump’s celebrity and off-the-cuff name calling ability that his crowds love. The guy is an egomaniac being fulfilled by finally being “important” for the first time in his life. I’m not a Trump guy, but DeSantis is the 1979 Pinto/Welfare version of Trump, his political skills laughable next to Dubya or Reagan. This guy can’t turn out the GOP base like Trump. Biden will beat him like a drum, if the GOP is crazy enough to nominate him.

Activists and engaged primary voters often are looking for someone that fills the voids their last losing nominee lacked. Republicans engaging in the polls right now think DeSantis can be their “America First” savior, without the baggage. Kind of like Elizabeth Warren was a smart woman like Hillary Clinton, but was easier for progressive voters to accept, so she was going to be 2020’s “silver bullet” to Trump. She ended up finishing 4th with Black voters in Massachusetts in her home state primary. Warren had little appeal to the broader primary electorate, let alone general election voters. Ron DeSantis is the 2024 GOP Primary’s version of Warren 2020. I don’t see what early state he wins to even get started, he just sounds like a good idea in the abstract to activists who don’t want to take an introspective look at why they lost last time. Mike Pence with Iowa or Chris Christie with New Hampshire have a better shot than this guy.

Ron DeSantis isn’t scary to Democrats or even Trump in 2024. The only people who should be afraid of him are people living in Florida under this maniac.