We’ve got a double winner!
Pick your favorite MLB team (or the one you know most about) and answer the following questions to prove whether you’re just a homer (“Someone who shows blind loyalty to a team or organization typically ignoring any shortcomings or faults they have”) or whether you really know something about your team and can honestly evaluate its strengths and weaknesses. Answers to the following three questions will determine who wins this contest:
A. What will your team’s regular season 162 game record be in 2018?
B. Will they make the playoffs (or postseason as someone pointed out to me MLB calls the playoffs), and if so, how far will they go?
C. What will be the most important SINGLE factor in determining their season?
I asked for help in determining the winner to this contest (see Comment Section with the many of the answers I received. I had a few more sent to me in emails). Your responses were thoughtful, readers make strong arguments for A, B, C, & D (see Comments at the end of this post, and led to the following very close decision(s) between A, B, C, and D.
Mary Lincer. Contestant D: Picked the Nationals whose season record was 82-80. They did not make the postseason, tho many had predicted they would, and probably the two reasons they did not do so had to do with not bringing in runners who were on base (i.e., hitting) and/or being ranked 7th out of 15 National League teams in pitching). Mary predicted their record would be 83-79, they would not make the playoffs, and said the single most important factor in their season would be lack of hitting.
(Editor’s Note: Not only did Mary get the most votes from MillersTime readers, it was comments such as the following that carried the day for me: “(D) wins with not only the closest record prediction, but the most unexpected. Picking the Sox to win between 90-99 wins was not a stretch, but picking an expected winner to struggle and nailing it (only better prediction would have been because of injuries) is the point of this contest.” She’s definitely not a homer. PS – She didn’t even vote for herself.)
Mary gets two tickets to the game of her choice for the NATS’ 2019 season and, of course, the prized T-Shirt.
Ben Senturia. Contestant A: Picked the Cards whose season record was 88-74. They did not make the playoffs. They were ranked 9th out of the 15 teams in the NL in terms of BA vs their pitchers and were 13th out of 15th in WHIP. This contestant predicted the Cards record would be 86-76, they wouldn’t make the playoffs, and said the single most important factor in their season would be pitching. (T-Shirt winner.)
Chris Bourtourline. Contestant B: Picked the Red Sox who season record was 108-54. They won the World Series, hitting and pitching and some other factors all played important roles in the season and the postseason. This contestant said the Red Sox record would be 93-69, they’d win the WS over the Dodgers, and said the single most important factor in their season would be hitting. (T-Shirt winner)
Jere Smith. Contestant C: Also picked the Red Sox who season record was 108-54. They won the World Series, hitting and pitching and some other factors all played important roles in the season and the postseason. This contestant said the Red Sox record would be 99-63, they’d win the WS, and JD Martinez would hit 44 HRs (he hit 43) which would be the single most important factor in their season. (T-Shirt winner)
Meg Gage & Steve King: Contestants E: Also picked the Red Sox who season record was 108-54. They won the World Series, hitting and pitching and some other factors all played important roles in the season and the postseason. This contestant said their record would be 95-67, they’d lose to the Dodgers in the WS, and the single most important factor in their season with be hitting. (T-Shirt winners.)
CONTEST #2: (See All Details – Previously announced)
Which League will win the All Star Game?
Tie-Breakers: Name the first MLB player to hit 30 HRs and the first MLB pitcher to win 12 games.
Tim Malieckal wins as a result of his being the first (3/21) to chose the American League and Judge & Scherzer. Tim will join me in 2019 for a Nats vs Mets game in DC. And, of course, he will receive the ever popular and desired MillersTime Baseball Winner T-Shirt.
Justin Stoyer (3/24) and Brandt/Samantha Tilis (3/26) are the runners up, predicting the American League and Judge & Scherzer. They will receive the fabulous T-Shirts. (Note for 2019: Just a bit slower to get in their predictions.)
CONTEST #3: True/False:
A. The new MLB rules (shorter commercial breaks and limit of six non pitching visits to the mound by manager, coach or other players) will NOT result in reducing the average game time to under three hours. (Average time in 2017 was 3:04.) TRUE. Average time in 2018 was 3:08.
B. The New York Yankees WILL win the AL East in 2018. FALSE. Duh.
C. The Washington Nationals WILL NOT win the NL East in 2018. TRUE. Sadly.
D. There will be no 20 game winning pitchers in either league in 2018. (There were none in 2017 and three in 2016.) FALSE. Snell won 21 and Kluber won 20.
E. At least one pitcher in the regular 2018 MLB season will have an ERA under 2.0. (There were none in 2017 or 2016. One did it in 2015 and two in 2014.) TRUE: De Grom – 1.70 and Snell – 1.89.
F. Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge together will hit at least 115 regular season HRs in 2018. (In 2017 they ‘combined’ for 111.) FALSE. Stanton – 38, Judge 27 + 65 HRs.
G. At least one MLB batter will strike out 220 times or more in 2018 regular season play. (Aaron Judge struck out 208 times in 2017, and Chris Davis struck out 217 times in 2016.) FALSE. Moncada the closest with 211 SOs, followed by Stanton’s 211.
H. There will be at least 8 Triple Plays in the MLB this year. (Over the last 10 years the average has been 4.1 per year, and in each of the last two years there were 7 each year.) FALSE. There were only two. Mariners and Rangers, the latter, not done for 106 years, an unusual 5-5-4.
I. At least three teams will win 100 games or more in 2018. (Three teams did so in 2017: Astros – 101, Indians – 102, Dodgers – 104). TRUE. Yunkees 100, Astros – 103, Sox 108.
J. One of Grand Papa’s (c’est moi) grandchildren will witness in person (at an MLB game) a grand slam, a triple play, a no hitter, an extra inning game, or Teddy win the President’s race at the Nats’ stadium. FALSE. Unfortunately.
Mary Lincer, see Contest #1 above, got the first nine correct and only missed the final one, probably because she thought I’d get the grands to more games than I did. Wins her choice of one of The 20 Best Books Ever Written About Baseball or a new book Power Ball: Anatomy of a Modern Baseball Game by ESPN writer, Rob Neyer (Published Oct. 9, 2018) and not to be confused with Michael Lew’s’ Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.
Runner-Up: Shawn Scarlett got eight right. T-Shirt winner.
Losers: Most of you who got five or less correct.
Who will be the two teams in the World Series in 2018 and which team will win it all?
Tie-Breaker: Name the five teams in each league who will make the playoffs.
Winner: Chris Bourtourline had the Sox over the Dodgers. No need for the tie-breaker (tho he got 6-10 right there). He is a repeat winner in these contests and will get one ticket to the 2019 World Series. Plus one of the new, updated T-Shirts.
Runner-Up: Maury Maniff, who both had the right teams in the WS but the wrong winners. He gets runner up based on his 6 out of 10 correct teams in the post season. He gets a T-Shirt.
Meg Gage/Steve King had the right teams but were behind Maury in the Tie-Breaker. Jere Smith had the Sox winning it all but over the Cubs, not the Dodgers. They both were runners- up above, but if they want to give a T-Shirt to a friend, I have plenty.
And that’s all for 2018.