Take a look ahead at the '09 season, with a list of predictions for the finish of each team, a quick summary of the team's prospects, and a round-up of what they're doing to entice cash-strapped fans to spend at the ballpark.
Opening Day is the best day of the baseball seasons. It’s like picking up a good novel, reading the first paragraph and knowing it’s going to be great. Seven months of a lively, unpredictable narrative that changes every day lie ahead. There's nothing like it in sports.
Despite this, 2009 may finally be the year the doomsayers have it right: the the division between the Haves and Have Nots in baseball is verging on the definitive. The New York Mets, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels, high revenue teams all, are consensus picks to make the playoffs. Four other big spenders, the New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies, are strong possibilities too. For the other twenty-one teams, maybe one of them catches lighting in a bottle, like Colorado in 2007 or Tampa Bay last year, but it’s going to be tough.
Speaking of dim prospects and money trouble, most teams — except the ones in the AL East — have gotten the message about the economy and are offering some creative and much cheaper ways for fans to get the ballpark this year. And that’s just for the start of the season; if baseball follows the path trod by the NBA and NHL this winter, look for deeper discounts ahead.View Jeff's predictions for the 2009 baseball season and the recession specials at your nearest ballpark.