July 15, 2024

2018 Tailgate Society MLB Preview: Nicole Gustafson edition

Editors Note: I tasked some of the baseball minds of TGS to write a Major League Baseball Preview asking them to answer these questions. Hope you enjoy them. 

Please check out others pieces as well

Matthias Schwartzkopf’s is here

Lindsey Schoon’s is HERE

Spencer Hughes’s here

Tom Danielson’s is here

David Graf’s is here.

Shawn Fensterman’s is here

1.Who will win the divisions?

In the American League, the East is fierce. The Red Sox and Yankees will again battle it out at the top, but I think this year New York gets the edge. They pulled off the pick up of reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton and I think that’s the difference.

The Indians won the AL Central by 17 games last season and I think they repeat in 2018. As for the West, I have to stick with the World Series champion Astros. They were in a class all alone in this division last year and now they have a full season of Verlander, the new addition of Gerrit Cole, and (of course) having Jose Altuve return doesn’t hurt either.

On the National League side, let’s get my obvious choice out of the way first. The Cubs are winning the Central. They replaced Lackey and Arrieta with Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood in the rotation. Kyle Schwarber also dropped extra weight. All of the young stars who led the team to a World Series win and nearly a back to back appearance are another year more experienced. And yeah, they **happen** to be my team.

In the NL East, the Marlins sold their entire team, the Braves are rebuilding, and the Phillies are the Phillies. I don’t see the Mets bouncing back well enough to unseat the Nationals, so I guess Washington will get yet another chance at winning a playoff series.

The Dodgers are still hanging in there, trying to get that World Series win they’ve been so close to and winning a lot of games along the way. They end up on top of the tough NL West again.

2. Who will be the Wild Card Teams?

In the NL, the Diamondbacks are a very good team with the misfortune of playing in the same division as the Dodgers. They’ll take a Wild Card spot along with the Cardinals. I do not LIKE the Cardinals, I do not WANT the Cardinals in the playoffs, but I watched them be very good for too long to count them out.

The Red Sox have my definite AL Wild Card vote. I’m giving the Angels the other spot because of a guy you may have heard of named Mike Trout, who also happens to be on my fantasy baseball team so I hope he has one hell of a year.

3. Who plays in the World Series and who wins?

Yankees vs Cubs. Not only is this matchup plausible, it would also make me very happy. I am a baseball fan because of my dad, who died three years ago. The Yankees were his team and the Cubs (obviously) are mine. I’m predicting the Yanks win and the tired choruses about payroll fire all the way back up.

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4. Who are your League MVP’s?

Mike Trout beats Giancarlo Stanton for the AL. The NL is pretty wide open so I’m going to pick with my bias and say Kris Bryant has a big year.

5. Who are your League Cy Young winners?

I think Verlander benefits from having the run support of the Astros all season and Clayton Kershaw stays healthy enough to collect more hardware.

6. If you could put any fictional baseball player on your favorite team, who would it be and why?

I’m going to disappoint Ted with this answer, but I have a terrible memory and I haven’t seen most baseball movies since I was a kid. I don’t think I could name a single player.

7. Give me three bold predictions.

  1. The Braves threaten the Nationals for a while, finish second in the NL East.
  2. Jake Arrieta struggles in 2018. No, this is not sour grapes. His stats have declined slightly every year since winning the Cy Young in 2015.
  3. The Diamondbacks’ humidor gets mentioned in every single home game broadcast.

8. What are your top three baseball movies and one you dislike the most?

I don’t have one I dislike. The Sandlot, The Rookie, and A League of Their Own are movies I remember I liked.

9, Baseball has decided to honor Latin American players by wearing special hats and jerseys in the minor leagues this season. which of the new team logos and hats are your favorite?

First of all, I just want to say all of these hats are so cool. I may end up buying one or ten and I look RIDICULOUS in hats. The eyes on the Lake Elsinore Storm hat are creepy in a very good way, but the Storm just doesn’t scream “we’re honoring Latin cultures” to me as much as some others. The Round Rock Chupacabras are a definite frontrunner, but as the potential wearer of the hat, I think the lime green might be hard to match with an outfit.

I am very excited to share that my favorite hat belongs to the El Paso Chihuahuas! Look at the FACE on that little guy! He’s got a studded collar and the perfect satellite ears. Both adorable and menacing, 12/10 hurry up and take my money.

Ted Flint | The Tailgate Society
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Nicole Gustafson
Nicole Gustafson 56 Articles

Nicole was born in Chicago and raised in Des Moines. She took her talents to The Iowa State University, where she earned a degree in journalism. You can find Nicole cheering on her favorite sports teams, hanging out with her dog, or finishing a Netflix marathon. Nicole is a big fan of #pitcherswhorake, fat guy TD's, and carbs. She's not a fan of mornings, winter, or vegetables and will complain to anyone who will listen.

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