The Cubs are in first place, the White Sox are in first place, and so, Aware One, am I — in first place for the Golden BAT Award, that is. The BAT, or Baseball Acumen Test, as my friend and former Hot Type columnist Neil Tesser coined it, determines which Chicago sportswriter is best at picking the winners in baseball. Hey, I’ve won it before, in 1984 I believe, and at this point, through the first week in June, I have all six division leaders in baseball. That’s right, six for six.
Yes, I have the White Sox finishing first in the American League Central — more for the weakness of the competition, which I’ve thus far been proved true about, than for the strength of the Sox, which they’ve flexed recently — and the Cubs in the National League Central. The others are all no-brainers, to my way of thinking: the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels in the AL, the Philadelphia Phillies and Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL. True, I’m far from being eight for eight, with the New York Yankees my wild-card pick in the AL and the Cincinnati Reds in the NL. Yet who picks second-place teams? Besides, the Reds are ascendant now that Dusty Baker has finally called up Jay Bruce and Homer Bailey (predicted, with all else, here), and who can count out my AL pick of the New York Yankees, with their deep pockets and resources for midseason trades? In any case, they don’t figure in my World Series pick: Cubs and Bosox. So, no, it’s not yet July 4, the traditional date for baseball league leaders to crow about their leads, but I’ll take what I got — and go from there. What else was the blog invented for other than to blow one’s own horn?