It’s that time of the year you filthy rat bugs: bold prediction time. But instead of doing what most articles of this nature do and shouting about how their team’s best player will win the MVP, I propose something different. It’s something dastardly. It’s something wretched. It’s…being silly!
Since I’m not particularly smart (my official role as part of this website isn’t actually Staff Writer, but Professional Idiot), I wanted to dish out a slew of predictions more in line with the small, dumb things in baseball. There will be a sprinkling of more traditional predictions thrown in here and there, but this is more of an exercise of fun rather than concrete Hot Takes to go to war for.
But make no mistake: I will absolutely 100% be bragging if any of these do come true.
People Will Stop Complaining About the New Rules After Two (2) Weeks
This one is pretty much a lock, as it’s been scientifically proven that (usually) older baseball fans have complained about literally (read: literally) every single change the league has made throughout its entire history.
We’ve seen folks complain about instant replay when it was just for home runs, when the replay expanded to include all plays, the new home run derby rules, and even when the league decided that having pitchers with a .120 avg probably shouldn’t be hitting anymore.
And you know what usually happens after the complaining stops? People get used to it. They realize that we’re in the 21st century and that sometimes, maybe, possibly, we should adapt. There will of course be hiccups — and I’m sure there will be plenty of manufactured outrage after, like, the Pirates blow a bases-loaded situation because their hitter didn’t get set fast enough.
But in the end? We’ll appreciate this next step for the sport.
Jon Heyman Spells Shohei Ohtani’s Name Wrong in Free Agency Announcement
Many moons ago, some friends of mine coined the term #THM, which stands for Total Heyman Move (a play on those old Total Frat Move jokes). At the time I was on a baseball sabbatical, so all the lore and inside jokes were completely lost on me. Now in 2023, I fully understand — and dare I say, appreciate — his occasional buffoonery. And his magnum opus was Arson Judge to San Francisco, a statement so very wrong both grammatically and factually.
Well, my dear friends, it turns out his true masterpiece will come following the 2023 season. The race to be first on the scoop for Shohei Ohtani’s next destination will make the Aaron Judge sweepstakes look like a local town’s bingo night by comparison.
Aaron Boone Will Get Ejected Within the First Two (2) Weeks of the Season
It’s easy to blame managers for a team’s lack of success; it’s even easier to blame Yankees manager Aaron Boone for the Yankees’ lack of success (by their enormous standards). He’s one of the most remarkable people in baseball, having somehow parlayed one walk-off home run into an ESPN gig and then into managing one of the biggest franchises on Earth despite the lack of previous managing experience.
A king, truly, in his own way.
But Yankees fans aren’t thrilled with the guy. And from my perspective, his iconic “savages in the box rant” years ago might’ve been what temporarily gave him a high approval rating. And I think — following an embarrassing playoff loss to the Astros and the litany of injuries to start 2023 — Boone is going to try and recreate that spark. Partnering up with Jomboy only adds to my conspiracy:
You know who did that viral “savages in the box” video? These guys! I think Boone is asking them for tips on what his next viral saying should be to help stir some hype and drama. I just know it.
Zack Greinke Will Say He Invented a New Pitch (and never show it)
Zack Greinke is one of the best people this sport has to offer. Consistently a delightful oddball, and consistently an elite pitcher: there’s really not much more you can ask for. In 2023, he’s still Doing Greinke Things:
So, why not predict the next weird thing he’ll do? He’s already known for his eephus pitch, but I think he’ll be quoted after a game one day and say he has something even better than that. But what’s more Greinke than saying you invented a new pitch and never actually showing it?
With most players, you’d think doing that would just be a bit. But with Greinke? The world would never know.
Avisaíl García Will Have an Awesome Season
Every year, we should predict one bad player to be awesome. Not bounceback guys like Anthony Rendon, who is entirely predicated on health and would surprise hardly anybody given his resume, but guys that are universally believed to be bad. Basically, channel the same energy of former ESPN personality Pablo Torre and his yearly tradition of picking a 16-seed to upset a 1-seed.
Avisaíl García passes those criteria in spades, and a simple glance at his Jack Frost-esque baseball savant page tells you most of what you need to know.
There Will Be a Panic Game Winner
While everyone will be quick to lament the pitch clock for hypothetical worst-case scenarios, let’s throw out some funnest-case scenarios (I don’t care if that’s not a word). Fun is good! And in 2023, I think there will be a walk-off hit as the batter has to force himself into position before getting the violation.
Mike Trout Will Get Into a Fight
“How many times has Hunt’s government betrayed him, disavowed him, cast him aside? How long before a man like that has had enough?
This is a quote from the excellent blockbuster film Mission: Impossible – Fallout — the 6th entry in the series. It is also a quote, secretly, about Mike Trout. Except instead of the government, it’s the Los Angeles Angels. They’ve been letting him down for years, and I think this year he finally snaps (a little).
The prospect of underperforming AGAIN — following a taste of what winning feels like thanks to the World Baseball Classic and Shohei Ohtani potentially leaving the team in free agency — might be the last straw.
Another Notable Player Will Besmirch Derek Jeter’s Name
Aside from rule changes and Bryan Reynolds trade rumors, there is perhaps no more profound discourse than the one of Derek Jeter. Calling Jeter overrated is about as unique and silly of a take as saying Marvel movies are bad. Yes, those movies have major problems and Jeter’s defense was incredibly bad! We know! You’re not unique! Stop yelling about this, please!
A couple of years ago, star shortstop Carlos Correa decided to slander Jeter as well. This isn’t about being right or wrong, but rather how likely it is we’ll be getting more of this dialogue again. Jeter’s new role with Fox Sports will only exacerbate the narrative since he’ll be more in the spotlight, and a player will absolutely take the opportunity to weigh in.
Just for fun, I’ll say the next hash-slinging slanderer will be Jazz Chisholm Jr.
Steve Cohen Will Have a Cameo in an Upcoming Movie
The Mets’ expectations are sky-high, and owner Steve Cohen is the face of that bright blue (and orange) sky. The man even bought a Super Bowl commercial. There is no limit to his spending, attention-grabbing ways (non-derogatory). So why not make some waves by appearing in a movie?
I can see it so clearly: a report from Deadline that Cohen will have a “minor role” in an upcoming flick. I’m not saying he’s going to be in something important like The Marvels or Killers of the Flower Moon, but something more campy and silly.
If Mark Cuban could sneak into those Sharknado movies, then so can the sugar daddy of baseball.
MLB Will Announce a Sandlot Game
There’s nothing funnier than when baseball seemingly does its best to ensure its own failure. The Field of Dreams game, which featured an epic battle between the Chicago White Sox and New York Yankees, was a success. The rare oddball initiative that actually worked!
And how did they follow that up? By selecting the Chicago Cubs (rebuilding) and the Cincinnati Reds (always rebuilding) as its next participants. That’s like following up the battle between the Avengers and Thanos with a battle against, like, the Shocker.
But while there may be no Field of Dreams game set for 2023, baseball will make up for it by announcing a special game in tribute to The Sandlot. It won’t be this season, but there’s some reasoning behind my thinking.
- There’s no Field of Dreams game anymore. Gotta mix it up!
- There’s a planned reboot in the works that we still haven’t gotten an update on. The collaboration opportunity is there.
- It’s the movie’s 30th anniversary.
- It would absolutely rule.
Just imagine the possibilities. Maybe the field will have a really cool old-school look to it, with some decoration outside the stadium that nods to some of the more memorable moments (e.g. a giant pool, a carnival, a more refined-looking field, a treehouse, etc.). Have James Earl Jones announce the starting lineups for both teams. Instead of a first pitch, have Mike Vitar (who played Benny Rodriguez) do a pre-game run in the outfield with a dog following along with him.
Admit it, you’re all in.