Your team was no good last year, and sadly no one really, truly believes they’ll be good this year. But… they might be good. And they could possibly surprise you.
First, let’s acknowledge the obvious.
Your team actually sucks. They do. They suck. Just look at that roster. It’s filled with veteran journeymen and fringe prospects who aren’t Latino. Do you even have a Cuban guy in camp? You need at least one Cuban or you’re totally screwed.
Most of these bastards actually went to college. That’s a problem right there. They’re way too smart. Do you want ballplayers or astrophysicists? We’re trying to win games here, not kickstart the NASA reboot.
At least seven guys are coming off serious injuries from a year ago. Two-thirds of your outfield had knee surgery, that guy over there lost an elbow, and Johnson got hit in the testicles twice. Twice. He can’t even have kids now. Which is probably for the best anyway, because Johnson’s a moron. You have to be a moron to get hit in the balls more than once.
Your manager is a washed up bum and he yells a lot. He believes in playing the game “the right way” and hopes these guys play it “the right way” so they can win “the right way.” If they do everything “the right way,” there’s a good chance that they’ll fall just short of third place.
But wait. What if everything comes together in serendipitous fashion for this team? Could they actually be not bad? Is that a possibility? Yes. Yes it is. What will it take to be not bad? Let’s investigate.
For starters, we talked to anonymous members of the front office and they really believe in this ragtag bunch they’ve assembled. Sure, some of the new guys are historically terrible, and this club actually signed free agents from Japan that aren’t Japanese, which is weird. But on the flip side, these wise old coots cut bait with a few malcontents and jettisoned one or two future All-Stars that were sick of playing with the lesser talent surrounding them in your city.
And if you just take a look here, it’s clear that every single one of these retreads is poised for a bounce-back season. The numbers don’t show it, mind you. But they legitimately can’t get any worse than they were a year ago, which is great news.
There’s Miller, for one. If he can stop banging a new chick on the road in every city your team goes to, he might hit .250.
Ortiz, what can we say about him. If he gives up the midnight Taco Bell runs and considers going full-blown vegan, there’s a chance he can man right field on an everyday basis.
The southpaw, Thompson. If his reverse-splits completely reverse themselves, he’s a solid bullpen addition.
And then there’s the most talented guy in the bunch, Cumberland. If his body can adapt to having been weaned off a weekly cocktail of steroids, morphine, horse tranquilizer, and Cialis, he’s a future Hall of Famer.
The pieces are in place, guys. They’re right there. And this division, save for the one team that wins it every year, is there for the taking. With the still kind of new-ish Wildcard format, your squad won’t let you down until at least June, maybe July. They might even maintain a pulse long enough to mortgage their future by trading prospects for a rent-a-player who will sign with a bigger-market ballclub on the first day of free agency next offseason. You just gotta believe.
Will this team surprise you? Probably not.
But is it within the realm of possibility, however improbable, that they could, I don’t know, maybe surprise you? I mean, I guess. My editor would like you to believe that. And it was either this article or a slideshow of stupid shit throughout the years. So yes. They could surprise you.
Baseball is back, everyone. Here’s to 2016!