(Los) Anaheim Angels
Dallas McPherson, the Angels’ blue-chip rookie third baseman, realizes his name works a whole lot better in football than in baseball. He trades in his glove for some pads. When he gets cut by the Jets in the preseason, he adamantly denies having any regrets about leaving the team. After the Angels win the World Series, he changes his mind.
Sammy Sosa, on the scorned-boyfriend off-season workout regimen, should hit upwards of 60 HRs and drive in about 120 RBIs this upcoming season. His revenge does not mean a winning season for the Orioles, however, as their staff ERA will be around 13.50.
Boston Red Sox
Still riding the adrenaline high from exorcising the Bambino’s Curse, Curt Schilling looks like a Cy Young front-runner at the All-Star break. When his emotions calm down, he finally realizes that he pitched the first half of the season (11-1, 2.47 ERA) despite both legs being amputated (the result of a grisly off-season pitchfork accident). Schilling decides to take the rest of the year off in order to work on his new wheelchair-slider delivery.
Chicago White Sox
Losing your power-hitting corner outfielders sure hurts, but signing second baseman Tadahito Iguchi should pay extraordinary dividends. Not only does his bat, speed, and defense upgrade the team, but closer Shingo Takatsu finally has a BFF who can be his smooth-talking wingman in the South Side bars.
Trying to promote a laid-back atmosphere in the clubhouse, manager Eric Wedge pins an article from The Onion (“Surgeon General Promotes Cigarettes As Miracle Cure!”) on the bulletin board. The act backfires when the entire team develops smoking addictions, causing them to run slower, go through wild mood swings, and live in general malaise. Whenever they catch a fly ball with a cigarette hanging from their lips, though, they look pretty fucking cool.
With a name like Ugueth Urbina, it’s not easy meeting girls. That was before The Uge, instead of bowing down to the ransom demands of gutless kidnappers, led a rescue mission in the treacherous jungles of Venezuela to save his long-lost mother. Now, when the ladies ask him what he’s been up to, he has one hell of an icebreaking story. Sure, he might elaborate the details just a bit—for instance, actually being present during the rescue mission—but that’s what first dates are for.
Kansas City Royals
During the offseason, Jose Lima introduces Royals ace Zack Greinke to his favorite out pitch: the bean ball. By midseason the duo are behind bars, booked for conspiracy to commit murder, ending any playoff aspirations. Secretly, Greinke contemplates the chances of a Mrs. Lima conjugal visit. His odds aren’t good, but better than if he weren’t in jail.
With a yearly payroll of $15.82, the Twins surprise no one by winning the AL Central.
New York Yankees
Seeing the box-office success of the Logan’s Run remake, President Bush proposes the American Youth Act, by which all people living in America must be executed by their 30th birthday. While the bill dies on the Senate floor (a 99-to-1 vote) it still puts quite a scare into everyone over the cutoff age. And, as Alex Rodriquez (29) is the youngest position player on the Yankees, their stomach-quivering anxiety leads to a season of bumbling-British-detective-like fielding errors. The Evil Empire fails to reach the playoffs.
Given the self-imposed salary cap he must meet by next season (an unprecedented negative $5 million), Billy Beane begins jettisoning players left and right. “Dotel for Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season Three? Sure! Zito for three dozen cans of tuna? You can never have enough tuna!” After the exodus, the Athletic—now singular instead of plural—goes on to claim the AL Wild Card spot, but ultimately gets swept out of the first round.
The question marks surrounding the addition of two high-priced sluggers (Adrian Beltre and Richie Sexson) will be forgotten by June, when the team is already 20 games back from the division leader.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Upset with his personal number being distributed all over the Internet following the hacking of Paris Hilton’s Sidekick, Sweet Lou Pinella spends the entire season on the phone. He gives every prank caller a taste of the old Pinella rage, urging them to “grow the fuck up” and “stop being such fucking morons.” The following year, crime in the U.S. drops by a staggering 24 percent. While no one argues that the two events are related, some things are more than simply a coincidence.
Upon Chan Ho Park’s eagerly anticipated return from his three-year-long pitching and meditation sabbatical, everyone realizes that he still sucks. The Rangers do not finish in first.
Toronto Blue Jays
With the Expos moving to Washington, and hockey still on hiatus, Canadians are aching for sports. Record crowds come through the SkyDome turnstiles, making the team the biggest money maker in all of baseball. Taking a cue from Big Stein, the profits are put back into the team, signing every big-money free agent there is. Seeing the Blue Jays’ success, Major League Baseball creates another franchise in Canada, the Canadian Dry Ginger Ales. Along with the return of hockey, the Ales drastically cut into the Blue Jays’ profits, causing the team to disband before the start of next season.