By Andy Kirkaldy
To the great amusement of my family and me, I was recently dubbed a “know-it-all” elsewhere in print.
So why argue?
In fact, to prove the truth of that label, I will reveal what I learned by pulling aside the veils that hide the future from most. (But remember, gambling is illegal, and all wagers are made at the bettor’s risk.)
My predictions for the sports world for the rest of 2009:
• The Boston Celtics, despite their recent struggles, will pull back together to be a formidable force in the upcoming playoffs. But LeBron James and his 16 teammates (12 in the same Cavaliers uniform, plus three per game in stripes and the NBA commissioner lurking in the background) will prove to be too much for Kevin Garnett and Co. and then the L.A. Fakers to overcome. LeBron then skips Cleveland for the Big Apple as soon as he can.
• I have no idea who will win the NCAA Division I men’s tournament (North Carolina on my sheet), except that Duke, Connecticut, Gonzaga, Arizona, Kansas, Missouri and the Big 10 teams have no shot. The veils closed after that information was shown. These results came in before they did: Popeye knocks out Bluto after he eats the spinach, Road Runner dodges the Acme rocket and it loops back and hits Wile E. Coyote, and UConn will win the women’s tournament.
• The New England Patriots will be back on top after many cagy off-season moves and more to come (Julius Peppers, anyone?), even if Tom Brady and Gisele spent the winter waxing their eyebrows to match. New England will meet the New York Giants in the Super Bowl again, and anything could happen. But the Pats’ reinforced defense is better this time around, giving the offense more chances: 20-17, Brady Bunch.
• But teams that sign members of the Patriots’ organization to lead theirs will continue to wonder where the magic went. Ask Notre Dame (Charlie Weis), the Cleveland Browns (Romeo Crennel) or the New York Jets (Eric Mangini, since mysteriously hired by Cleveland) if any of Bill Belichick’s genius rubbed off. The exception will be Scott Pioli’s reign as general manager of the Kansas City Chiefs. Josh McDaniel’s tenure as coach of the Denver Broncos? Not so much.
• We have not heard the last of Curt Schilling. No, he won’t play again — we’ll just still have to listen to him. But if there’s any right-wing blowhard I’ll cut some slack, it’s Schilling. (For a raging argument on his Hall of Fame credentials check out Chad Finn’s pro-Hall Tuesday blog on boston.com, then read the comments. I’m leaning toward yes for his enshrinement, just for shutting up 55,000 New Yorkers, to revisit an epic Schilling quote.)
• The three best teams in the American League will all play in the Eastern Division. The New York Yankees will lose the Wild Card race on the final day after Alex Rodriguez is thrown out of the game for using his pocket mirror to reflect the sun and blind Angels third baseman Chone Figgins while Figgins tries to catch a pop-up. ARod will console himself by kissing the mirror. Derek Jeter will console himself by dating recently divorced Jessica Alba.
• The Chicago Cubs will win the World Series. Wait, I said that last year. Hmmm, how’d that work out? I’ll stick with the Tampa Bay Rays or the Red Sox. Rays pitcher David Price or Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters will vie for rookie of the year. At last, long-suffering Orioles fans will have something to root for besides their fantasy baseball teams.
• Speaking of which, two members of my fantasy league will spend more than $3 (out of $26) for closers or starting pitchers. They will finish in the second division.
Or I could be psyching them out — did I say everything would be revealed?