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The List

The show before the show begins

By George L. Jones

The Selma Times-Journal

I’m going to do something today that I never, ever do. I’m going to talk about a sport’s postseason before the regular season begins.

I think I was compelled to do this because of my interest in the post-steroids era (supposedly) and because it’s the first time I’ll witness a season without Barry Bonds (supposedly).

Let’s get to it …

NL East – New York sounds good. Yeah, let’s go with the Mets. With all due respect to the Braves and Phillies, this is a pick that’s almost too safe – which kind of worries me. You know about Johan Santana and Pedro Martinez in the rotation. The deal breakers will be John Maine (a 15-game winner in 2007) and Oliver Perez (who should be a 15-game winner every year).

NL Central – Milwaukee. I’d like to pick the Cardinals, but their pitchers get hurt too much. I’d like to pick the Cubs, but since when have they done anything good twice in a row? We know the Brewers can hit, but they have some young pitchers that will literally blow you away. This team reminds me a whole lot of the 2006 Tigers.

NL West – Los Angeles. Joe Torre plus whatever else is out there equals more wins than the Dodger Blue faithful are used to.

Wild Card – Atlanta. Yunel Escobar. Yunel Escobar. Yunel Escobar. Think that’s annoying now? Watch how many times you hear it this summer.

AL East – Boston. Argue with me on this one. I double dog dare you.

AL Central – Detroit. Cleveland will probably win the wild card because of its starting pitching, but the Tigers are the strongest team this side of Boston. Detroit may even be stronger than the Red Sox in terms of talent depth.

AL West – I’m picking Texas. You’re shocked, I know. I figure it like this – Kevin Millwood is an on-again, off-again pitcher (10-14, 5.16 ERA last year), so it’s his turn to be dominant. And, oh boy, that offensive lineup. Watch center fielder Josh Hamilton closely.

Wild Card – Indians. Did I mention they’re scrappy?

George L.

Jones is the Times-Journal sports editor and may be reached at 410-1744 or george.jones@selmatimesjournal.com.