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Mudville: March 4, 2024 6:12 am PDT

Easy Come, Easy Go

Well, that’s a wrap on the 2023 season. My master plan was to leverage my vast knowledge of baseball, my astute understanding of the new rules and my keen eye for talent and win enough money at the end of September to afford tickets and a Chicken Bucket for a Yankees home playoff game. To afford that, you can wager $1.

I know you have all been dying to know how this turned out for me. Thank God the mail carrier at BallNine HQ kept all of your letters together that were begging for updates until after the season ended – so this didn’t have to turn into a weekly column.

Let’s answer the burning question; Did I go to a playoff game or am I now hiding from some leg breaker?

(In order of highest to lowest win totals per Bet MGM Grand for 2023)

Houston 96.5 Wins – Original prediction was OVER – Final Total 90. They are so annoying. Under .500 at home. Pitching staff was so-so. Long stretches of bad offense. They still win the damn division.

LA Dodgers 96.5 – Original prediction was UNDER – Final Total 100. Even losing that scumbag Urias didn’t stop them from winning 100. Mookie Betts is like Bugs Bunny against the Gas House Gorillas.

Atlanta 95.5 – Original prediction was OVER – Final Total 104. Scary. They hit so many homers that if you took Matt Olson’s 54 out of the total, they still led the majors in Home Runs as a team. Yikes.

NY Yankees 95.5 – Original prediction was OVER – Final Total 82. Well, at least they finished over .500. I just typed that about the Yankees and threw up in my mouth at the same time. Hey Brian Cashman? 9 out of the top 10 teams with the highest team batting average made the playoffs. Share that with the nerd room before you fire them all.

NY Mets 95.5 – Original prediction was UNDER – Final Total 75. Clearly a group of over priced, underperforming players means you dump the GM and the Manager. Hey Steve Cohen? Not every old car is a classic.

San Diego 93.5 – Original prediction was UNDER – Final Total 82. If you can’t pitch, you can’t win. Maybe they should think a little more about chemistry on the field instead of chemistry off the field going into next year.

Toronto 92.5 – Original prediction was UNDER – Final Total 89. Sneaking into the playoffs is still getting in but the offense was supposed to be dynamic and it really never was.

St. Louis 89.5 – Original prediction was OVER – Final Total 71. The most exciting thing about this season was the Wainwright retirement ceremony.

Tampa Bay 88.5 – Original prediction was UNDER – Final Total 99. They trailed off a bit in the second half but still had a much better season than I thought they would. Some year I will be right about their demise. Not this year.

Former St. Louis Cardinal Yadier Molina talks about Adam Wainwright during a pregame ceremony honoring Adam Wainwright on his retirement as a St. Louis Cardinals on October 1, 2023, at Busch Stadium in St. Louis MO (Photo by Rick Ulreich/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Seattle 88.5 – Original prediction was OVER – Final Total 88. Thought they would add a bat at the deadline and they did nothing. Kind of a wasted year coming off the excitement of last year. George Kirby and his 90 pitch count whining made Bob Gibson roll over in his grave, but it also got more former MLB Players to post on the X than ever. Hint: It wasn’t complimentary.

Philadelphia 88.5 – Original prediction was OVER – Final Total 90. Red October activated in Philly. Of all cities, the fans give Turner a standing ovation to show support and he becomes the player they thought they were getting when they signed him. They still threw snowballs at Santa.

Cleveland – 87.5 – Original prediction was UNDER – Final Total 76. We will miss you, Terry Francona. On behalf of all baseball fans, thank you for a lifetime in this beautiful game.

Milwaukee 85.5 – Original prediction was UNDER – Final Total 92. A fun team with a good mix of veterans and exciting young players. They’re not Harvey’s Wallbangers, but they do enough to win games.

ChiSox 84.5 – Original prediction was OVER – Final Total 61. As much of a disaster as could possibly be. They really don’t do anything well in any facet of the game. They finally blow up the front office, but the players are still the ones that have made two managers look like a fool over the past two seasons.

Texas 82.5 – Original prediction was UNDER – Final Total 90. Jordan Montgomery turned into Steve Carlton. They kept on mashing. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for Aroldis Chapman to give up a soul crushing HR in the playoffs.

Minnesota 82.5 – Original prediction was OVER – Final Total 87. That Royce Lewis kid can play some ball. When they didn’t pitch well, the hit and vice versa. Thankfully they play in the division they do.

San Francisco 80.5 – Original prediction was OVER – Final Total 79. Gabe Kapler, this is twice now that the wonderful world of platooning has doomed you.

LA Angels 80.5 – Original prediction was OVER by .5 – Final Total 73. What a joke this organization is. Not only did they not reload the organization by trading Ohtani at the deadline, but then he gets hurt. They add some pitching that couldn’t pitch instead. At least they still have Anthony Rendon.

Cubbies –78.5 – Original prediction was OVER – Final Total 83. Cody Bellinger made himself some big money. This probably happened a year sooner than they thought in Wrigleyville, but they were in the hunt for a playoff spot until the final week and the excitement was back at my favorite ballpark.

Boston 77.5 – Original prediction was UNDER – Final Total 78. I felt like they did this to me on purpose. The Bloom is off the flower so who is the next person to be blamed for Chris Sale missing 25 starts?

Orioles 76.5 – Original prediction was UNDER – Final Total 101. What in the name of Brooks Robinson is going on in Baltimore? They actually have a baseball team. Those fans deserve it. They continued to get better as the season went on. The players who looked like they might be tricking us into thinking they were good, were actually good.

Arizona 75.5 – Original prediction was OVER – Final Total 84. Add a closer at the deadline and the bullpen falls right in place. So many talented young hitters and two really good top of the rotation starters. If the kids they had in the rotation get a little more consistent, this team will be good for a while.

Alek Thomas #5 of the Arizona Diamondbacks bats during Game 5 of the 2023 World Series between the Texas Rangers and the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Wednesday, November 1, 2023 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

Miami 74.5 – Original prediction was UNDER – Final Total 84. I have sent a formal letter of apology to Kim Ng, but it was returned to sender. I was so wrong about this, but they still should than the Mets for giving them a bunch of wins.

Detroit 69.5 – Original prediction was UNDER – Final Total 78. They had a really nice second half. They have some very promising young talent. Maybe AJ Hinch doesn’t need trash cans after all. Miggy Cabrera, you are a baseball treasure and should be a First Ballot HOF selection in 5 years. Thank you for an amazing career.

Kansas City 68.5 – Original prediction was OVER – Final Total 56. The biggest disappointment to me of all. Not that I had to pay Mr. Bookmaker, but they wasted another year of Sal Perez. Just a thought. You folks might want to consider that pitching is something that is required.

Colorado 67.5 – Original prediction was UNDER – Final Total 59. The owner said he hoped they would finish .500. Hope is not a plan, dummy. At least we know that Ezequiel Tovar and Nolan Jones can play.

Pittsburgh 67.5 – Original prediction was OVER – Final Total 76. The Pirate fans deserve this and much more. They deserve an owner who will add the missing pieces to keep this momentum going. Sadly, what they deserve and what they will get is probably not in alignment.

Cincy 64.5 – Original prediction was OVER – Final Total 82. Sometimes when we say “wait until next year” it’s because of what could have been. In this case it’s all about a full season of these young studs and the renewed health of a young group of pitchers. If we have indeed seen the last of Joey Votto in Cincy, or in the game at all, he played the right way all of the time and we owe him a big thank you.

Washington 60.5 – Original prediction was UNDER – Final Total 71. Same record as the Cardinals but a far better team, if that makes sense. They fought and scratched and clawed almost every day. They have some really nice young pieces and more on the way.

OakVegas 59.5 – Original prediction was UNDER – Final Total 50. This Vegas group won 50 games and it feels like they overachieved?  A lost season since before it ever started. MLB should be ashamed of itself for ever letting it get to this point.

14 and 16? I didn’t have to worry about a Yankee Playoff game anyway, so that’s a good thing. I didn’t lose enough to go into the Witness Protection Program, so  that’s also a good thing. Instead, I sat here in Mudville watching other teams fight for the piece of metal.

It was a mostly enjoyable regular season this year. So many exciting young players to carry the game forward. We said goodbye for the last time to some great names in 2023. I’m doing my best to keep playoff comments out of this one since it’s a regular season recap but since I took a giant swing at MLB over the A’s fiasco, I feel compelled to note that building a new stadium in Tampa – St. Pete isn’t going to fix 19,000 for a playoff game. When is Montreal getting a team, you clown Manfred?

There is minimal joy in Mudville yet again.

Mike Nelson is a Director of Sales by day but at night is a boomer baseball ranter who assumes the persona of Joe Blow from Mudville. His biggest baseball claim to fame was hitting for a double cycle in a sandlot game. Dick Allen was mean to him when he was 12 years old

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