Yes, it is that time of the offseason. The time when it’s the day after Thanksgiving, I’m terrifically upset about having had to watch Michigan lose a squeaker to the Stinking Buckeyes (although it shouldn’t have been a squeaker, we really were not that good) and the Lions lose what most emphatically was not a squeaker to the Falcons, and both in person at that. The time when teams are starting to make big offseason moves, signing fancy names like Thome and Insert Expensive Marlins Player Here, while the Tigers twiddle their thumbs and wonder what wondrous new mediocrity they can overpay for this time around.
It is in this time that I like to make absolutely baseless and ridiculous predictions for next season. I am, shall we say, in that sort of frame of mind.
Awesometastical Tigers Predictions for 2006
PUDGE RODRIGUEZ, pleased with the success of his weight loss regimen last offseason (remember, his defense had taken a dropoff, so he wanted to lose weight to correct that; lo and behold, his defense was the best in the league this year) will continue to run stairs and eat wheatgrass shakes for all meals. By the time he reports to spring training, his teammates will stage a worried intervention out of fear that he’s become anorexic.
MIKE MAROTH will start off the season like usual, with 5th starter stuff, but sometime in July the good Lord up above will speak to him, inspiring Mike to dedicate himself to a life of good works and charity, as well as suddenly and mystically endowing his fastball with an extra 5 mph. Expect him to yet again exceed his career high in wins.
CARLOS GUILLEN will experience a glorious full season with his brand new, state of the art bionic knees, made of the same stuff that those fancy new tennis rackets are made of these days.
DMITRI YOUNG will gain all of the weight that Pudge has lost.
NATE ROBERTSON will forgo the clear glasses/goggles (gloggles?) that pitchers are wearing these days and will revive the old school trend of pitchers wearing glasses with thick lenses and bold black plastic frames. His mustache will grow so bushy that he’ll have to get other Tigers to groom him between innings, like a baboon or other such social primate.
OMAR INFANTE, with his young and deft infielder’s fingers, will become the expert Nate-mustache-groomer.
Whatever alien lifeform that has been happily incubating in PLACIDO POLANCO’s skull will be startled into waking life by a pitch to the helmet sometime in late May. The slimy alien beast will emerge from Plonkers’ left ear, stretch its many-jointed legs, and leap, screaming shrilly, to the mound, where it will attach itself to the face of the opposing pitcher and proceed to eat his brains. Plonkers will be unharmed, as the creature will view him as a benevolent mother figure. With any luck, this will occur during a game against the Yankees.
JAMIE WALKER will invest in shaving cream stock over the offseason, making it in his best interests to create and utilize as many shaving cream pies as possible over the course of the 2006 season. He will proceed to do so with great gusto, and it will become fashionable for Tigers to give postgame interviews with plastic trash bags tied as hoods and capes over themselves.
Newlywed CHRIS SHELTON will spend all offseason gittin’ jiggy wit it, and the resultant exhaustion will cause him to have a slow start out of the gates in April and May. He will regain his usual form in June though, and will begin campaigning hard to take the nickname “Chinless Wonder” away from its current owner, Jorge Posada.
CURTIS GRANDERSON will be given the keys to the city just for being that awesome.
FRANKLYN GERMAN will be fined by Major League Baseball for sneaking hot dogs into the bullpen. He’ll be very secretive about it, but will be found out when Walker, feeling particularly jocular, digs into his secret mustard stash and writes “I LOVE BEEF” on the back of German’s jersey in the spicy yellow substance.
BRANDON INGE will be properly recognized as the Sexiest Third Baseman of 2006 by GQ magazine, much to the chagrin of Eric Chavez and A-Rod, who will appear on Oprah, sobbing, demanding to know what Inge has got that he hasn’t got. When Oprah sympathetically pats him on the back and reminds him that Inge has the best calves in baseball, A-Rod will have a complete nervous breakdown and will have to be led gently offstage by a sympathetic Derek Jeter.
JEREMY BONDERMAN will develop a discernible personality. Ha ha, I’m just kidding on that one. What do you think I am, crazy?