The Gray Pages

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Episode III

I liked it. I really did.

Really, there was nowhere to go but up after the last two. At my showing, there was a technical glitch after the previews and before the movie started, so the "PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CELL PHONES" sign remained on the screen for about five minutes. My friend Marty: "It's true what they said; it is better than the last two." Still, my expectation were high, especially after reading Steven Hunter's glowing review. (Actually, it was the photo that ran with the review that got my full attention. Especially after recently re-watching the first Star Wars, which contains the fight between Vader and Obi-Wan, where Vader taunts Obi-Wan and calls him an old man.)

But I'm a sentimental fool for happy endings. The Natural. The Muppet Movie. The Godfather, Part I. I'm tearing up just thinking about them. (Okay, maybe Godfather requires a wider definition of "happy.") And this really didn't have a happy ending. Not so much. (On the other hand, I did love Empire Strikes Back, so maybe this doesn't explain it.)

Second problem: we knew how it was going to end! During the climax of the movie, there are concurrent battles between Darth Vader and Obi-Wan and Yoda and the Emperor. And everyone in the theater knows that all four of these characters are going to live! This is the problem with the whole concept of the prequel.

I'm guessing that prequels are here to stay. ABC Family has been showing a prequel to Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion about six times a day. I mean, if they're making prequels to movies that people didn't like in the first place, I'm guessing we'll see more of these things. Well, you might. I won't. There's no drama without suspense, and there's no Josh without ... okay, I can't finish this sentence. But I'm done with prequels.

My obsession

Okay, I realize this trading deadling question is boring as hell, but I'm obsessed with it.

I had forgotten about Baseball Prospectus's Postseason Odds page, which I think is a much better place to start when it come to who the sellers might be this season. I've got to backtrack on my demise of the Phillies -- I had completely forgotten about the existence of Jim Thome when I predicted them as dead. Really, while I have varying degrees of confidence about my projections, the NL East is my biggest question mark. I truly believe that the Marlins will win the division and the Braves will win the Wild Card. After that, I have no idea how many wins we'll see from the Mets, Nationals, and Phillies. Moreover, it wouldn't shock me if one of those teams passed the Braves to take the Wild Card (or at least second place in the division) based on what we've seen thus far. And even when some team does finish in last place, they'll still probably win 80 games. (I still think it's possible that that the Nationals will collapse, though.)

Now, onto the hopeless eight:
  • Devil Rays
  • Royals
  • Mariners
  • Athletics
  • Pirates
  • Reds
  • Astros
  • Rockies

I'm not saying the other teams will actually go to the playoffs, of course. The only sure thing that I see is the Cardinals, and even they have an 18 percent chance of staying home, the same as the Padres [!], according to these models.

And, soon, I'll start to look at who have relievers to trade and expiring contracts among those eight.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Keeping an eye on the trading deadline

Based on my predictions, here's my predicted list of sellers at the trading deadline:

Tampa Bay, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Washington, Pittsburgh, Cincinatti, Houston, San Fransisco, and Colorado.

The big prize: Not Roger Clemens. Billy Wagner.

New Predictions

AL East: Boston, Baltimore, NY Yankees, Toronto, Tampa Bay
AL Central: Minnesota, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Kansas City
AL West: Los Anaheim, Texas, Seattle, Oakland

NL East: Florida, Atlanta, NY Mets, Washington, Philadelphia
NL Central: St. Louis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Cincinatti, Houston
NL West: San Diego, Los Angeles, Arizona, San Fransisco, Colorado

Wild Cards: Baltimore, Atlanta
ALCS: Los Anaheim defeats Boston
NLCS: St. Louis defeats Florida
World Series: St. Louis defeats Los Anaheim

AL MVP: Miguel Tejada
NL MVP: Miguel Cabrera
AL Cy Young: Jon Garland
NL Cy Young: Pedro Martinez

Old Predictions

April 1:

AL East: New York, Boston, Baltimore, Toronto, Tampa Bay (as required by law)

AL Central: Cleveland, Minnesota, Detroit, Chicago, Kansas City

AL West: Los Anaheim, Texas, Oakland, Seattle

Wild Card: Boston

NL East: Florida, Atlanta, New York, Philadelphia, Washington

NL Central: St. Louis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Houston, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati

NL West: San Diego, Los Angeles, San Fransisco, Arizona, Colorado

Wild Card: Atlanta

ALCS: Boston defeats Cleveland

NLCS: Florida defeats Atlanta

World Series: Boston defeats Florida

AL Cy Young: Randy Johnson

NL Cy Young: Pedro Martinez

AL MVP: Travis Hafner

NL MVP: Miguel Cabrera