Yes! Baseball is here! As I type this, I’m sitting in front of the TV watching the Royals take on the Twins. There’s humidity in the air, we mowed the grass for the first time yesterday, there are mulch piles all around the neighborhood. Spring is here!

Wait, what’s that in the forecast for Thursday? Snow with wind chills in the 20s? Yikes.

Anyway, I’m happy baseball season has arrived. I might be a total fool, but I don’t believe the pessimistic forecasts so many experts have predicted for the Royals of Kansas City. I think they made some smart and good moves over the off season. I think players all up-and-down their lineup are going to have better years than last year. I think the rotation is as strong as it has been in a long time. And while there are concerns about the bullpen, I don’t share them. I think that will once again be an area of strength.

(Note: I wrote this entire post through the first five innings of the game, when it was a tight affair. Shortly after wrapping up the draft, I departed to the kitchen to start making dinner. While we were eating the bottom of the 7th occurred. Fear not, my confidence is still strong after that meltdown! One game does not make a season! Also, as Mr. Superstitious, I will not be eating during any more Royals games this year.)

Still, they are stuck in the same division as Cleveland, one of the 3–4 best teams in the game. A team, like the Royals two years ago, who will play with a laser focus after making it all the way to game seven of the World Series last season.

I think the Royals will stay within shouting distance of the Indians all summer. I think they’ll be right in the Wild Card race until the end. If they can stay healthy and perform the way I think they can, I see no reason why they can’t nab a third playoff spot in four years. And once you get to October, anything can happen.

No one else seems to agree with me. I keep seeing the Royals picked third and fourth in the AL Central, often in the 70s for total wins. The advanced stats projection systems hate the Royals. And I think some of the “experts” are keeping the win total low because they expect the Royals to be sellers at the trade deadline.

All them fools is wrong, I tells ya! It’s going to be another great summer for Kansas City baseball fans! Or at least I hope it still is through early June, when we go back for a weekend series at the K.

Prediction time!

AL East: Boston

AL Central: Cleveland

AL West: Houston

Wild Cards: Kansas City, Texas

NL East: Washington

NL Central: Chicago

NL West: Los Angeles

Wild Cards: St. Louis, San Francisco

I’m skipping the playoff predictions and just going with a World Series pick: Cleveland over Washington. Because the last time Theo Epstein broke a curse, a team from the AL Central broke their own curse the following year.