Autumn has its stranglehold upon the trees, the temperature is dropping, and my muscles feel stiff. Baseball season is officially over.
I feel a little sad today, which is depressing because it is actually my birthday. Perhaps my subconscious finally realizes it can no longer experience the intensities of a September playoff race, nor hear Written in the Stars advertising the Postseason, nor ride emotional roller coasters while I watch a baseball game, nor enjoy the delicious ballpark franks and nachos.
The Pittsburgh Pirates lost 90 games this season and fans may have been disappointed, but they showed great strides of improvement, which was not difficult after such a poor season in 2010. Their performance up to July was almost as amazing as their second half was devastating. Still, management proved last year they can come up with creative solutions that fit their budget. Some worked, most did not, but you may have to take some risks when you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. The most exciting part of the Pirates' season was when they acquired Ryan Ludwick and Derrek Lee before the trade deadline, which proved to me management is not afraid to make a move. They announced their priorities will be at catcher and first base.
This is my first year with the St. Louis Cardinals in their hometown and they did not disappoint me. The ultimate baseball high is followed by rock bottom, especially with the uncertainty surrounding Albert Pujols and Tony La Russa announcing his retirement. Luckily the Cards have Lance Berkman locked in for next year, which would allow him to shift from right field to first base, just in case the worst case scenario occurs. Management tied up most of their major loose ends aside from Pujols, shortstop, and now the manager position.
In my past offseasons as solely a Buccos fan, this would have marked the beginning of my hibernation from baseball. This changed after the 2011 season and with a projected payroll increase to over $50 million next season. If you couple that with the anticipation of the moves the Cards will surely make, then I should be quite active this offseason.
Why so glum?
MLBTR has a free agent prediction contest here.
Their predictions can be found here for comparison.
ESPN "predicts" the next 25 World Series champions here.
Two Out Rally, Baseball MMORPG: here.
World Series Superstars on Facebook: here.
Baseball Mogul 2012: here.
Personal Offseason Projects:
Pirates Payroll Speculation
Cardinals Payroll Speculation
Payroll Win Efficiency
Analyzing my Fantasy Baseball Teams
Preparing for the Next Fantasy Baseball Season
League Realignment Proposal
League Expansion Proposal
Playoff Expansion Proposal
The math on my World Series Probability post was corrected. There are 70 possible outcomes, not 72.