I received a request for optimistic outlooks for the 2009 season. So here you go. I feel you should get your money's worth when you come to this site. Without further ado, a team-by-team guide for why you should feel good about the upcoming season.
Phillies - You are the defending World Champions. You've got former MVP's Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins and another candidate in Chase Utley. You've got Shane Victorino. You really don't need my help to be optimistic about this team.
Mets - You've got a new ballpark. Something good can come from that. Otherwise, I think Mets fans are overly optimistic already. I don't think this is a terribly good team. Sorry.
Marlins - Three players born in the 1970's. That's it. Two of them are just holding down the fort. You might not win this year but you should be following this team and learning who these guys are because this is a good team in a couple years.
Braves - This is a good team except for Jeff Francouer. For a couple of seasons some buddies and I would play the Horace Clarke Chase. Horace Clarke set the standard for outs in a season (where outs is identified as AB-H. We didn't double count double plays or add caught stealings like some places do) in 1970 with 514 (He had 732 plate appearances with an OBP of .286. At the start of the season we'd each pick a player who we thought could break Clarke's record. I always took Francouer and he was always in contention. The guy never walks. But you do have Jair Jurrjens. Chipper. McCann. Lots of talent here.
Nationals - You're about to get the best amateur player on the planet in Stephen Strasburg.
Cubs - Someday the sun will burn out and we will all die and no one will care anymore about the World Series.
Brewers - Strangely, the Brewers are the only team I read about regularly online. There's a lot of good talent on this team. Yovani Gallardo has future Cy Young written all over him. Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder instill fear. Good team.
Astros - Ponce de Leon may have struck out on finding the Fountain of Youth because he didn't check out the drinking fountain in the Astros dugout at Minute Maid Park. IF the drinking fountain is the Fountain of Youth, the Astros will be in good shape with Darin Erstad, Pudge Rodriguez, Carlos Lee, Miguel Tejada and Mike Hampton. Five years ago they were good.
Cardinals - Three words: Tony-La-Russa. Not enough? OK, two more. Albert-Pujols. Still not enough? Colby Rasmus. No? The hell with you then, go root for the Cubs.
Reds - The Reds are scary close to being really good. Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, a decent pitching staff. I like the Reds, even without Adam Dunn.
Pirates - The Pirates will win more games than Pittsburgh's NBA team will this year. You could be a Cubs fan.
Dodgers - You have Manny.
Diamondbacks - My pick to win the 2009 World Series. Boatloads of talent. Not that boats are of much use in Arizona.
Rockies - You were in the World Series two years ago. It could happen again.
Giants - Lincecum and Cain and pray for Justin Smoak to get to the majors soon.
Padres - You might get a lot of prospects in exchange for Jake Peavy in July.
Devil Rays -Last year was not a fluke. This might even be a better team than last year.
Red Sox -Like the Yankees, you can buy your way into the playoffs.
Yankees -Like the Red Sox, you can buy your way into the playoffs.
Blue Jays - The American economy could collapse and then you can buy your way into the playoffs.
Orioles - Peter Angelos is really, really old and might die soon. You're still the best team in the BWI Airport metropolitan area.
White Sox - Bud Selig may instill a new rule where a team gets an extra win for every profanity their manager uses in an interview.
Twins - My pick for the AL World Series representative. Ron Gardenhire is a brilliant and extremely underrated manager.
Indians - I've never heard of half of these guys and the ones I do know are way past their prime. Wait a minute, that's the wrong Cleveland Indians. This team has a lot of offense. They also play in the same division as the Royals.
Royals - Um.....Hmmmmm.....Joakim Soria. He might pitch 60 or so innings so that's good, right? And you aren't the Cubs so you have that going for you. Maybe Don Denkinger will be called out of retirement to ump your games.
Tigers - Remember last season and how it was a foregone conclusion that the Tigers would win the World Series before we even got games underway? Look how that turned out. So be optimistic that everyone is less optimistic about your chances this year.
Anaheim Angels of Anaheim - Anyone can win the AL West so why not you?
Texas Rangers of Arlington - Anyone can win the AL West so why not you? Besides, we're going to be talking about your dynasty of the 2010's in the not too distant future so who really cares about 2009?
Oakland Athletics of Fresno - Anyone can win the AL West so why not you? It would be good, too, in that maybe people will stop saying that Billy Beane wrote Moneyball. That drives me nuts.
Washington Mariners of Seattle - Anyone can win the AL West so why not you? Just remember if it comes down to a one game playoff and you have to decide whether to pitch Felix Hernandez or Carlos Silva, choose Felix Hernandez. Do not call Venezuela's World Baseball Classic manager and ask him what he thinks. Heck, I just noticed that 24% of the Mariners roster is from Venezuela. That has to bode well, right?
There you have it. Something to look forward to for every team in the major leagues as well as those in the NL Central.