- Who would've thought that by August 21, these things would've happened:
That Manny Ramirez would finally aggravate the Red Sox to the point where they decided to get him out of town once and for all and pay his salary to leave.
That the Yankees would undergo such a rough transition with a new manager in Joe Girardi (who still appears to have a lot to learn) and that their young starters would be injured and terrible, respectively. (Actually, someone called the Ian Kennedy disaster----meeeeeeeeee!!!)
That the Orioles, having cleared out their veterans and started a legit rebuilding project, would be flirting with .500 and playing very respectably.
That the Minnesota Twins, sans Johan Santana and Torii Hunter and with a patchwork lineup, would be fighting for first place.
That the Detroit Tigers would become the latest version of The Worst Team Money Could Buy?
That after coming within one win of the World Series, the Cleveland Indians would stumble badly enough to clear out most of their veterans and start another rebuilding project.
That Josh Hamilton and Milton Bradley would post such massive offensive numbers and that Ian Kinsler would even get himself into the conversation for MVP.
That the Seattle Mariners would see everything go wrong far beyond a worst case scenario; Stephen King couldn't come up with a series of nightmares as disastrous as the Mariners 2008 season.
That Mike Pelfrey of the Mets would develop this quickly to become a top young starter in the National League and win a probable 15-16 games.
That Ryan Howard would start morphing into a kind, gentle version of Dave Kingman and that his numbers would tumble so rapidly; and that reigning NL MVP Jimmy Rollins's play wouldn't live up to his mouth.
That the historically durable Tom Glavine and John Smoltz would both be lost for the season; the Braves pitching staff so top-to-bottom rotten; and that they'd be sellers instead of buyers at mid-season starting a rebuilding project.
That the Marlins would be in contention spending less money on their entire roster than Alex Rodriguez makes all season.
That the Brewers would go for broke so completely by dealing for C.C. Sabathia, who they have no chance of keeping after the season.
That even Tony La Russa, baseball's resident genius, would be able to keep the Cardinals patchwork and bargain basement roster (aside from Albert Pujols) in contention this long, especially without a closer.
That Ken Griffey Jr would allow the Reds to trade him.
That the Diamondbacks, with their excellent on-paper roster; dual-headed Cy Young Award contenders in Brandon Webb and Dan Haren; a resurgent Randy Johnson; and solid mid-season acquisitions, would be so relentlessly and unexplainably inconsistent.
That the Dodgers would acquire two future Hall of Famers for almost nothing within three weeks of each other in Manny Ramirez and Greg Maddux.
That the Padres would be so poisonously bad and that their arrogance and cheapness would permeate their organization to become almost hopeless.
These surprises----among many, many more----prove that no matter how one makes their predictions, based on numbers or observation, there's no way to know what's going to happen in a season; no way to judge what's going to work and what isn't. The only thing to do is to watch and learn and try not to make the same mistakes again. If anything, this season is a prime indicator of why they play the games on the field rather than in a room with a bunch of nerds alternating between their stats and World of Warcraft.