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Baseball returns to warm up spring

The Buzz on Sports

April is the start of the baseball season and it has been one of my favorite sports since I was a little kid. It always reminds me of going to Angel games in California with my father and then leaving in the seventh inning to beat the traffic home. Until I was 15, I didn't even know baseball games had eighth and ninth innings.

But here we are again, 2008 and the season gets under way with everyone having the same chance to win the world series, unless of course your favorite team plays in Texas, Kansas City, Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Baltimore, San Francisco, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Florida or Washington.

If any of those are your favorite teams, there's always next year or 2010.

But enough about 2010, what about this season?

Well, here are some predictions for 2008 hoping the excitement returns to the field from news and Mitchell Reports.

In the National League, it looks like a return to form for a couple of teams that have struggled recently. In the eastern division, the Mets made a deal to get the best pitcher in baseball in Johan Santana added to a rotation with Pedro Martinez and they look to have the pitching.

Offensively they are older, but some would say the experience would help them more than hinder them. I think the Mets will win the east in a close race with the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies battling until the end.

The NL central, which has usually been one of the weakest divisions in baseball, look to be a three-team race this season. The sentimental favorite is the Chicago Cubs, who have not won a world championship in 100 years.

With Rafael Soriano, Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez leading the offense the Cubs will have the offense to put some runs on the scoreboard. Their pitching staff consists of Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster and Rich Hill should be enough to get the Cubs into the post season.

They will struggle with the young stars of the Milwaukee Brewers who are primed for greatness. The Brewers, who haven't won a post-season game in 26 years, have Prince Fielder, Mike Cameron, Ryan Braun and Corey Hart and the Brewers will score a lot of runs.

The national league west looks like it will be a battle between last season's National League Championship series opponents the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies.

With a healthy Randy Johnson added to a rotation of Brandon Webb, Danny Haren, Doug Davis I think the Diamondbacks will win the division.

The wild card will be a battle between Colorado, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Milwaukee and I see Milwaukee hanging on to advance to the playoffs.

In the American League, the East will be another battle between New York and Boston, with Boston running away in the final two months to win the division by eight games.

In the central, Detroit made the best deals over the off-season picking up Miguel Cabrera, Edgar Renteria, Jaques Jones and Dontrelle Willis to a team that battled all season last year. The Tigers will run away with the division as Cleveland looks to be a year away from contending again.

The west the Los Angeles Angels will battle the Seattle Mariners all season, but I see the Angels having enough to pull out a division title in the end. The Angels signed Torri Hunter to add some pop to their lineup and Jon Garland to the pitching staff.

The Mariners added Brad Wilkerson and Miguel Cairo to a potent offense and Carlos Silva and Erik Bedard to the young pitching staff that should come into its own this season, just not enough to win the division but enough to grab the wild card spot in the final weekend of the season.

In the AL playoffs, I see Detroit beating the Angels and Boston cruising past the Mariners, with the Red Sox again winning the American League Championship.

In the NL playoffs, I see Arizona beating the Mets and the Cubs beating Milwaukee, with the Diamondbacks advancing to the World Series. In the World Series, I see Boston beating the Cubs in six games to take their second straight world title and third in the last five seasons.