April 2008

MLBlogs Network Updates

Updated 12:40 a.m. ET Sunday

Condolences to surviving family and friends on the shocking loss of our MLB.com colleague John Marzano. He was one of the friendliest guys around. Vinny posted on the Leading Off blog and please feel free to add your comments with thoughts on Johnny Marz.

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MLBlogs Network Updates:

It’s just a workaround for now, but here is the solution for everyone who has asked why they cannot have paragraphs within their comments. Simply use two br tags between each paragraph, like this: <*br><*br> (without the asterisks)

Welcome to our latest Major League Baseball player who wanted to blog: Braves right fielder Jeff Francoeur. He decided on “Frenchy’s Forum” and just posted his first entry. Please welcome him to MLBlogs! Welcome also to WildWilburD, whose blog begins: “Sitting at work on a slow afternoon…” Welcome to padfan, The “K” Man and moomba. New MLBlogs continue to be created around the clock in every template.

Beth at Yankees Chick gets credit for the best headline of the day at MLBlogs.

The issue with popup images should be cleared up now. Previously some users were experiencing blank popup windows after selecting that option at the Insert Pic stage of creating an entry, so that you could not click on a thumbnail and see the image at full resolution. Six Apart has installed a patch that has resolved this, but it will not fix previous cases where an asset (image) was uploaded and a blank popup appeared. You will need to re-insert any such images you want to position as popup windows.

Most of the Create Link problems have subsided, save for some edge cases such as that reported by Steve in my previous post’s comments. Thanks to those who have helped via email with your system info and status. Please feel free to report any ongoing issues here.

See my Call for Content in previous post as well, if you want an MLB.com byline. All you have to do is play a video game and tell everyone how fun it is.

MLBlogs Network Updates

Thanks for your patience during the difficulties at the Create Links stage within the Link List area of the new Movable Type app. That appears to have been resolved based on feedback of participating MLBloggers who were experiencing problems there, primarily using IE6. Firefox is recommended if you have the option. Please continue reporting here with any issues involving your software as we continue refinements and plan next upgrades.

CALL FOR CONTENT: If you have either PS3, PS2 or PSP system/devices for video games, I am sitting here with three versions of MLB ’08 The Show on my desk and want to overnight them to any MLBlogger(s) who would like an MLB.com byline and a free game. I only need a 200-word review on each, so please SEND AN EMAIL HERE to volunteer. We already have MLBlogger reviews “in the can” for the MLB2K8 game on Wii, PS3 and Xbox, and to make it a total MLB.com package I just need to put together the MLB ’08 The Show review page. Step right up and you can have an MLB.com byline for your resume if you’re a writer.

David Mickey Evans, famed director of The Sandlot classic baseball movie, is an MLBlogger and he just posted about his latest film The Final Season being released now on DVD. Leave him a comment and tell him what you think of the movie.

Bengie.pngPlease welcome our newest blogging player, Giants catcher Bengie Molina. He asked the club if he could get a blog started, and now he not only has one, but two. Bengie, the oldest of the three MLB-catching, ring-owning Molina brothers (also Jose and Yadier), will be blogging in an English-language MLBlog and one that is also posted in Spanish for sfgigantescom.

Meanwhile, Tommy Lasorda is the master storyteller in baseball. He just told another that everyone should know about and pass around.

It’s fitting that we are talking about the legendary former Dodgers manager and current team exec, because Tuesday is Jackie Robinson Day around the game. Tommy got this whole MLBlogs thing started three years ago by saving the very first MLBlog entry as an ode to his former Dodger teammate and late friend who broke baseball’s color line.

Please leave Tommy your comments, as he’s the trailblazer here, and also a welcome note for that catcher on his rival club up the coast. Did you see that Tommy also is going to RECEIVE the Pope this week? And a dinner that night with the President and First Lady in the White House.

Congrats to MLBlogs’ own Zack Hample, who just demolished his own record of baseball snaggage at new Nationals Park. Ran into him on the subway Saturday in NYC and I kept it secret until he could blog about it. Amazing how this guy now has a legion of snagroupies.

Baseball. Bloggers. Everywhere.

Updated 11:18 a.m. ET Friday

Welcome to Digging In The Dirt. Welcome to Three Rivers, Five Titles, One Blog. Welcome to Zajack’s Column. Welcome to No Steroids Here. Welcome to The Bronx Bomb. Welcome to GoldGloveLuie. Welcome to 26 and Counting. Welcome to Mike Acker. Welcome to bleacherbum. Welcome to Brewing a Winner. Welcome to Mr. Mets Daily. Welcome to Meksquesttogotoagame. Welcome to playing like a girl. Welcome to Cardsfan18. Welcome to Smoke Signals. Welcome to the official MLBlog of the Houston Astros’ front office, where you will find out whether the roof will be open or closed for each game. Welcome, free-world bloggers! If you have a new blog, don’t be bashful, throw it in the comments here with your URL! Everyone leave a welcome comment for them!

You’ll find a lot more Minor League blogs around here, too. Lisa
Winston, part of our MLB.com crew, just launched her new MLBlog at got milb. Our MLB.com colleague Jonathan Mayo has rechristened his excellent MLBlog in the spirit of the relaunch. It’s now B3: Big, Bold and Beautiful. And Kevin Czerwinski
started one as well. So there are a lot of familiar bylines/voices
around MLB.com and MiLB.com giving you important insights into player
development, Draft prospects and things important to all organizations.

The Rangers are inviting their fans to congratulate Eric Nadel, on the 30th year of his broadcasting the club’s games. That’s a lot of baseball from the catbird’s seat, and we salute him here at MLBlogs as well. Personally, I used to cover the Dallas Mavericks (1986-90) for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and had a weekly NBA radio show on KRLD, and there were nights when Nolan Ryan was throwing and I would follow the action with Eric. If a no-hitter was alive through six, I would drive one mile away and jump into the park with everyone else. Just in case you saw Nolan make some more history.

There are a lot of fine pitcher blogs out there, from Curt Schilling to Pat Neshek to Phil Hughes to Kevin Slowey. But no Major League pitcher, probably no other athlete, throws better bloggage than Rangers reliever CJ Wilson. It’s like he invented what blogging should be like for pro athletes. No one else involved. Create a blog, post, live it, read the comments and interact. Can you imagine if Babe Ruth had a blog while he was on the road? Posting at stops along the train ride to Philly or St. Louis or Chicago? What if Babe had blogged about his Called Shot? Filter out the storytellers completely, just say it on your blog to the people. That’s CJ’s world, unchained. Neshek gets a close second by making his a cottage industry.

Let’s talk about great starts here at MLBlogs. As you probably surmise from watching the Most Recent Activity on the MLBlogs.com homepage, new blogs are being created continuously around the clock now that this place is free. And a good example of all the fans bringing their blogs here now can be found at Those Crazy Ol’ Blue Jays. Stanton X writes:

I started this blog a couple of weeks ago on a different site. But obviously I wanted a bit more exposure so I have moved all of my older entries into here. From now on I will be updating regularly on MLBlogs.com so thanks for checking it out. Feedback whether it be positive or negative is always welcomed.

Be sure to drop him a welcome comment and leave your URL so people can find you.

editar.jpgOur friend and longtime astrosdehouston.com blogger Rafael Rojas Cremonesi reports from Venezuela that the new Movable Type software is a friendly step forward for Spanish-language MLBloggers. “I love the fact you can set up your MLBlogs platform to have instructions and commands in Spanish,” Rafael emailed. “The whole interface for blogging, posting and whatnot can be set to be read in Spanish. So instead of seeing ‘post’, ‘create” or ‘edit’, you can see ‘crear’, ‘editar’, etc. There are certain menus that would not change its language, so maybe that could be checked out.” Will do and thanks, Rafael.

Rafael is still one of the Hardest Working Bloggers out there. He’s the only one who posts to an English-speaking MLBlog and a Spanish-speaking MLBlog. We have an ever-increasing number of MLB PRO BLOGS (that template for any blogs created within the MLB family of employees) that are in Spanish like Siempre Gigante or Siguiendo a los Mets, as you can see on that drop-down list on the MLBlogs.com homepage, and this will grow exponentially. Hopefully in Japanese soon as well. There are also lots of bloggers here who post to multiple sites, showing a lot of determination to build audience. That’s what it’s all about! When I woke up this morning, another new Blue Jays blogger was being promoted with a link to his MLBlog from the MLB.com homepage. Feel free to keep leaving your suggested 15-to-25-word (MAX!) excerpt here for consideration, and as you probably can tell we’re going to spread the wealth rather than “regulars.”

Dan/Steve/Zack/Beth et al: Thanks for the help in the comments on these updates. Nice when fellow bloggers are helping each other through the trials and tribulations of learning an entirely new software environment all around Opening Day. Please continue to post your questions/comments/gripes/whatever here as we continue to work on any relaunch bug issues as well as scheduled upgrades for the next phase of updates coming soon. They customized MT for you all and it works best if all of your feedback is continually added here so it can be incorporated into the Google Doc citing next needs.

Thanks also for your patience with me last weekend as I was Bernie Carbo-loading and then pounding pavement Sunday at the St. Louis Marathon and recovering Monday. It was a perfect day that took you toward the Arch at sunrise then past Busch and down around the A-B brewery then back up past the Purina plant, through Forest Park (and the outdoor Muni), Wash U, Clayton, Delmar’s killer hill, U-City and then eventually back toward the finish near Union Station. I know that this crowd would have wanted me to go from the finish line straight over to the simultaneous first pitch of Nationals vs. Cardinals a few blocks away to watch and blog, but my legs wanted nothing to do with that. Now my left Achilles tendon gets a vacation as I surf the Sphere.

Our friend Chris does a great job of updating one of the best Giants blogs.

So far so good on the comment moderation question of what happens when you break down the pay wall. Just checked and one person the past week reported an offensive comment (removed). Those flags are prominent after every comment you see on MLBlog. If you see something, say something, as they say around NYC. You are your own MLBlog’s moderator, but we try to help keep it like a ballpark atmosphere.

Is it just us, or does every Phillies blog ever created have the “ph” consonant as a play on words in the title? Is the Phillie Phanatic naming all of these? Would you guys have started up phacebook instead? (No sooner did we write this than Philsfirst came to the rescue with the letter “F”.) And memo to our new friend Jenn at Phillies Phollowers who commented on this post, we would consider that one except it will be too dated so think in terms of lightning-fast baseball schedules as yesterday’s history and someone will be reading that excerpt tomorrow morning.

Happy blogging for phree! More updates on the infrastructure as they come along…

Just added: MLBlogs Search

Updated 1 p.m. ET Friday

Check out the new MLBlogs Search field we just added to the
MLBlogs.com homepage.

search.jpgFor example, search for “yankees” and you will
get a ton of great Yankees blogs to explore. Same for “grady sizemore” or any other baseball subjects. Try it out, and we’ll keep
getting you around the network in new ways.

Dan and others: Thanks for your patience with the Create New Link issue that is affecting some users within the link lists feature. Known issue and has been on the bug list and hopefully fixed soon.

Just made some more changes in the new profanity filter. If you have asterisks showing up in certain situations, re-pub and see if they disappear. If not, then thesaurus.com.  🙂

How about those Royals! Lots of KC blogs ranging from Powder Blue to the club’s official front office blog at Around the Horn in KC to Royals broadcaster Steve Stewart to the K Crew.

There is talented writing all over this community. And it doesn’t get
much better than former presidential speechwriter and well-known author
Curt Smith at Voices of the Game. Great to see him back for more in 2008.

Here’s something else that should help your regular chronicling of the baseball season: See my friend Marc’s blog at Angels in New York. You can see how easy it is to post a perfect box score to your blog off the MLB.com game wraps.

Welcome to so many new bloggers like Rangers in 2011? to Go Jays Go to Brewing a Winner or This is our year! Welcome back to longtime former bloggers like Evan at Amazine! Free = big crowd. Nice to see so many
fans and looking forward to your postings. Be sure to leave your
comments with your URL here! The feedback has been very important and please keep it coming as we keep upgrading.

The width of the text columns here are 550 pixels, which means if you
upload and want to position a large photo, you should choose Thumbnail
and specify 550. Then click so it also shows up as a popup. Then you’ll
be all set. So far I have seen various full-width photos that are warped. You can also choose to “remember settings.” Tinker with photos.

And I have to plug Bold Predictions 2008 because the guys who sit around me here in the office created it last night and we can all get a laugh this fall (or hear about how right they were). Make sure you leave some comments for the MLB.com crew there!

Good example of how someone is handling photo album management in the interim. . . . And an example here of how someone incorporates Google AdSense into his blog. He has been doing this for more than two years and you might be familiar with his other blogs. Leave him a comment with your URL and ask him how it’s working and how he does it if you’d like. The best way to keep improving your blog is by asking fellow bloggers.

And a personal THANKS to the well-wishers who are following my off-site Marathonomy blog. Two days or so until the St. Louis Marathon!

Network Updates

Hey, everyone. Thank you again for your patience during the transition. Everyone is getting used to this, myself included, and there are some rough edges. I keep finding my own things of various magnitude that I’m adding to an internal Google Doc we have going with items that either are receiving immediate attention or are being included in scheduled upgrading over the next month. It’s already a huge improvement over what we were using for MLBlogs the first three years, it’s free, and please know that anything we want to work better is being documented and pushed.

Small would be: “Hey, what happened to that cool text-color icon in the toolbar to make Spheroid subheads?” Large would be: “We need Asset Galleries very soon!” Actually, there are some things planned for the entire community at MLB.com that hopefully will happen quite soon this season, and handling of user generated content such as photos/videos are considered within that. I know a lot of people are freaking out about not having an old Photo Album right now, but there will be a solution. That was a really clunky way of managing the Photo Album in Typepad 1.0, by the way. “Assets”, as they are called in Movable Type, are basically a blog entry. We’ll have a better solution soon, bear with us. You can always create a Photobucket or Slide or Webshots photo gallery and link it from your blog in some way in the meantime as a stop-gap. We’ll keep continuing the dialogue and your input as always is very, very appreciated. You all are the proprietors here along with us.

On to your comments over the past 24 hours…

Amanda: Comments seem to be working fine now at letsgotribe.mlblogs.com. Good luck to your Tribe this year. Sixty years is about long enough (don’t tell Cub fans).

Jenn at Phillies Phollowers and Zach the snagmeister: Thanks for the profanity filter heads-up. OK, here’s the deal on that. Three years ago, Six Apart installed a profanity filter for the first MLBlogs. Over the course of those three years, I gradually deleted or common-sense-ified at least 100 of the terms. Nothing more fun than sitting there going through a list of everything you don’t want your kids to know. Anyway, your suggested changes have been made, as were many more. This should be like a ballpark.

The proprietor of Hook, Line Drive & Sinker commented: “I would really like to be able to add links to my link lists, but when
I click “add new link,” absolutely nothing happens… It has been going
on for days. The list titles are finally showing up, but I can’t add
actual links to them. I’ve read a few other complaints about this, but
still haven’t seen an answer.” I just went through another MLBlogger’s link list process. I was able to click “Create link”, and then I am given a field for the URL and also one for the link name. What I really like — a definite improvement over our past MLBlogs — is being able to add a description right there. After you create it, you just click Edit next to the link name and write descriptive text. For example, Alyssa Milano’s relaunched MLBlog now has pricing underneath the clothing line name in her TOUCH Links list. That’s pretty cool to be able to show that right there.

Also on the subject of links. Not that he has a lot more free time than me, but my colleague Mr. Matthew Leach, who covers the Cardinals for us at MLB.com, was our first beat writer to blog a few years ago and is very tech-savvy. He just put his new book in his side panel (memo to Paul at The Prince of New York or Zoe at Pick Me Up Some Mets!, check that out), so I know people are seeing images showing up in side panels now. Feel free to stop by and say hello to Matthew and ask him if he has any advice for you on that front. Our partners have been looking into link lists overall and this is a work in progress.

That same Marlins fan (and Zach) asked if we would be able to re-order side panel categories soon. You cannot do this currently. That is one thing we had in the past Typepad app that was taken away, and I’m not really happy about that and it is on the agenda for subsequent upgrade. For example, when players start blogs, I want you to be able to see links at the top of their side panel to their particular team. So it’s the same for all of us, and I’ll push on your behalf to that to happen soon in the MT world. As I said, some things are just different, and overall things are incredibly better. Also, I noticed that link lists are upside down in the migration, not good, I just had to delete and re-enter a bunch for another MLBlogger.

Many have asked about the Browse by Team index disappearing in the relaunch. I have reiterated that we went from a pay site to a free site, which people love, and that means we are getting a lot more blogs created around the clock. It has been far more than I even expected. This even further reinforces my desire to have nothing to do with trying to keep up with manually indexing them as I and an assistant did before. We will automate it so that your template choice is recognized and that groups you into a team category on a browse page of some kind. That is scheduled in the next upgrade, hopefully in the next month.

In the meantime, here is a link to the old MLBlogs Active Roster index page on MLB.com. It still has all (or most) of the MLBlogs at the end of our first iteration last week. I do not intend to update this, so do not ask me to add you to this page. You should be tagging like crazy, because tags will be an important way for users to find each other going forward. Look for continued prominence with use of tag search features. We have requested a timer be placed on the tag cloud code on the mlblogs.com homepage, because Categories migrated as tags and thus all of those old Categories (ballgames, equipment, road trip, whatever) dominated the tag cloud. That’s because there are three years worth of them, and your new tags would have no chance of outranking those in search results anytime soon. So if we can have the timer specify to start the tag cloud search last week, then it will make sense to you and you will see words like “yankees”, “santana”, “opening day”, “fukudome”, etc.

Zack, I see that I can change time zone preference in my sys admin role, and if you aren’t seeing a capability, then we’ll have to get that fixed, obviously. We don’t want everyone to have Central time zone set, and we sure don’t want me being the one to change everyone’s time zone setting. I’m not sure that’s missing, someone else let me know. I will also check this status with our relaunch partners.

One of our club publicists who blogs asked me where the spellchecker went in the toolbar. I didn’t remember it in the last one, since I don’t use one, but she did, so I if it’s important to people I am asking that we return it. It’s that little a-b-c icon, not there now.

Soxangst: First of all, please always remember to include your URL when you comment here! That’s a cardinal rule for self-promotion as a blogger. If you don’t leave that breadcrumb for people to find you, then you’ve just lost a chance at audience. That should be at the top of everyone’s strategy checklist here for self-promotion and building a following. Comment everywhere on other MLBlogs, be a great neighbor, and always leave your full URL under your name. Now to your point, which was a great one: “Can we have a link to sign in on the top banner of our blog instead of having to tune into mlblogs main page every single time?” We give you a Register/Login link at the top of every MLB.com article page, so I’m not sure why we would not replicate that approach with the new MLBlogs Network. I will push for that unless, as Zack suggested, someone here internally shows me a good reason why not.

We also are planning to add a Next/Previous link at the top of all blogs so that you can explore the community randomly a la Blogger.

Adam at Sox Pride: Great to have you back! (He’s a Spheroid if you want to scroll through that list of featured MLBloggers from the past few years.) By the way, Spheroid is actually a great example of how tagging worked through the migration. I had created a customized Category in the old Typepad app starting in late 2005, so each time I did that 9 Questions for “Spheroids”, I would choose that Category. Now it has migrated over and is humongous in my tag cloud here, so you can just click it and see how tagging can work great for you.

Matt at Diamondhacks: Yes, nextpub just means the next time you publish, it should push an item like that to production. I see this happening sometimes and sometimes not. Sometimes for the better. I was doctoring someone’s link list for them and I clicked Edit next to one item, filled in a description, clicked Done, then I hit the Save Changes blue button on that page. I thought I would have to go re-save a most recent entry to make it “nextpub”, but I saw that it showed up fine when I reloaded the site.

Dave at Rockapril: Not sure what errors on blog pages you were referring to. If you still are seeing any glitches, please let me know. Your page looks fine, anyway. And welcome to MLBlogs! Enjoyed myself at Coors Field there late last October, my first trip to that yard, although I wasn’t happy to spend six innings of Game 3 on a stretcher in the first aid office due to altitude sickness. I wound up on the DL for the Sox clincher, not a good memory.

Oh, and we really need a darker color for the previously-clicked links. That light gray is almost impossible to notice.

To be continued. Thank you again for your feedback, keep the constructive comments coming.

MLBAM opportunities

Will get to more of your comments and updates shortly. In the meantime, I wanted to pass this along. It seems MLBAM (Major League Baseball Advanced Media…we just call it BAM) keeps hiring like crazy and here are the latest positions listed on our Monster board:

MLBlogs Network updates

Updated 9 p.m. ET Tuesday

Our friend Roberto over at Blogging Dodgers and Baseball asked in the comments: “What happened to my Photo album? No more albums?” This entire project has been an upgrade from the antiquated Typepad 1.0 app and steady upgrades will be added. Among them will be the development of an Asset Gallery. MT currently designates photos, videos and audio files as “assets”, and look for that enhancement in the near future.

Speaking of Dodgers blogging, check out original MLBlogger Tommy Lasorda’s post from tonight. Great story about Steve Sax and Kenny Landreaux. Only Tommy can tell it like that!

We temporarily changed “Most Recent” to “Most Recent Activity” just to avoid any confusion while the automation of latest blog headlines is being worked on. As you’ve probably noticed, saving any entries, including comments, causes a blog to have its title show up there. So when you see the MLB.com Visitor’s Guide listed often, for example, that means someone on the MLB.com homepage just saw the prominent link to give us feedback about the MLB.com homepage design. That company blog is an MLBlog just like yours, so that comment makes it show up in the “Most Recent Activity” just like you saving a new text post. Soon there will be multiple tabs for Most Recent, Most Popular, etc. But for now, it’s just overall activity. This is what Facebook users are used to seeing on their Dashboard/Home page, so it’s not uncommon, but we obviously want to separate the comments from that.

Bottom line is that the “Most Recent Activity” headlines keep changing fast around the clock now, and it’s a good way to get around to other blogs. With more getaround to come.

All linked lists are
republished in the sidebar (on the *next* publish). We’re going to add
a callback to make these things publish more aggressively.

One of the best things I’m seeing is so many bloggers asking and learning about tags. These will become increasingly important going forward with MT — incredibly important. Now is a good time to start always tagging words/phrases relevant to your entry you’re saving, whether it’s a text post or an Asset. When we add Search Tags, you’ll want people to find you that way. If you’re a Yankees blogger, for example, you should always tag “yankees”. Then when someone searches for all “yankees” tags, they can find your entry.

settings on this community blog are restored to descend so most recent
is at bottom. Thanks for the feedback. Funny how we are accustomed to
comments being first at Facebook, MySpace and elsewhere, but here most
people want to scroll to the bottom to find their new comment!
Preferences seem to vary from site to site.

We’ll be adding a
“Next” and “Previous” link in the near future on the top of all blogs,
similar to your average Blogger page. Any further ways we can help
bloggers find each other is one of our top priorities (along with
assets/link lists). IMPORTANT: Please feel free to keep nominating
yourself here to get on that valuable spot at the bottom of the MLB.com
homepage! We added that blog excerpt feature when we relaunched the
MLB.com homepage last week, and each day we have been driving that
audience to a different MLBlog. Make it easier for us by posting 15 to
25 words you hope to have excerpted as a comment here, and include your
URL. It’s great to post comments here about how the blogs are working,
but you can be your own marketer as a blogger and help MLB.com editors
know what you’re posting.

Please let me know here if you are experiencing any issues with getting from the green Signin link on the MLBlogs.com homepage to the actual signin page.

One tag cloud problem on MLBlogs.com
has been that Categories migrated over as tags, so it doesn’t matter
how many times you enter the word “Yankees” or “Royals” as a tag, it
would take years before they overtook three years worth of Categories
listings in ranking. So we’ve asked that a time code be added to
exclude any of those migrated tags.

All of the comments on this
blog are added to an ongoing queue and we appreciate them very much. I
appreciate everyone’s patience. Among dozens and dozens of other things
being worked on by the MT software developers and various PMs and
programmers, I am going to at least get the old Browse by Team
functionality back on here as a stop-gap while we wait for a smarter
automation based on template choice. It’s a long season and you kind of
have to have an even keel attitude like the players do. Keep reporting
any bugs/issues, and please keep helping other MLBloggers within these
comments if you share experiences where you’ve found solutions. And
yes, I’d like to see paragraphs back within these comments, too!

Take Me Out To The Blog Game

We’re looking for someone to sing “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” at the All-Star Game this July 15 at Yankee Stadium. If you sing or can perform a version of that song as well as you blog about baseball, then enter your video in the contest by late May and then comment on the Take Me Out To The Blog Game page that just went up here. . . .

Predictions – mine and yours

On April 1, 2007, I predicted on the MLB.com homepage that the Rockies would be in their first World Series. For full disclosure, I had them beating Texas. My philosophy in this era is pretty simple: The majority predictions will be abject failures, and it will be Shocktober. You know in your heart when you have been making your picks out there that there is no way in hell it is going to be right, but somehow you were taught to use logic in baseball.

Here we are at the start of another season, and I just wanted to be on record first with my predictions for 2008. I am going with the Padres all the way this year. I feel the same thing about them I did with Colorado last year. I believe it is their time. First of all, let me summarize why I believe it is time for San Diego’s first major sports championship.

I am a Bud Black guy. When I was a Giants beat writer for the San Jose Mercury News, I was around Bud every day and he was my go-to guy. He just exuded class to me, intelligence, leadership, and grittiness. That was toward the end of a fine career. I think Bud Black is your next generation’s Tony La Russa or Bobby Cox, and by that I mean a guy who is going to be approaching records for managerial victories. I think he wins his first World Series as a manager in 2008, having won as a pitching coach with the Angels (2002), having won as a player (1985 Royals), and I think he will have a lot of pennants and world championships as a manager in the years ahead.

He has the pitching. He knows what to do with it. Jake Peavy, untouchable. (And yes, it was before Peavy’s Opening Day dream game that I turned this ballot into our company predictions keeper who does this each year.) Chris Young — my predicted Cy Young winner. Horribly bad-luck second half last year, should have been an 18-game winner, will go 22-5 in 2008. Mark Prior, you’re back and in the right place around Black. Greg Maddux at the back of your rotation. (Ex-Cub factor everywhere, not a great sign.) Heath Bell showed during the pennant race what a terror he is going to be in late innings. Trevor Hoffman is looking good this spring. I look at San Diego’s roster and up and down their pitching — and it is so late October.

Jim Edmonds (DL) and Tadahito Iguchi bring the rings. Adrian Gonzalez is going to be the why-not-him All-Star sentimental buzz in a few months. These guys will get back to Shocktober, but it won’t be with old perceptions. NL West and a World Series to SD. I’d feel even stronger about it with a little more sizzle in the Padres’ lineup, but I still believe it is their time.

NL East: Mets. NL Central: Brewers. NL West: Padres. NL Wild Card: Braves.

AL East: Red Sox. AL Central: Indians. AL West: Mariners. AL Wild Card: Tigers.

MVPs: Prince Fielder, David Ortiz. Cy Youngs: Chris Young, Justin Verlander.

It’s fun. You can really make a case for almost every team. The past couple of months I’ve thought about the likelihood of a Sendoff Series in New York, I’ve liked the Brewers (easily could win it all), I’ve liked the Angels (something doesn’t feel right now, injuries only part of it), I’ve liked the Indians (CC/FC, out go the lights), etc. I think it’s stupid to pick Boston because 29 teams are standing in the way of repeating, and all but a handful could win the ring. This is why more than 80 million butts will hit seats. That and the fact that we love this game. Yesterday brought back everything to me, thinking about what it felt like to get good wood on the ball and smash homers into cornfields as a teenager in Indiana, how much you hated hearing that the field had too much water after that storm so you’re rained out today, playing whiffleball in the streets in the rain and using ghostrunners and pretending you are the ’70 Twins and Carew is up, teaching your son to chuck those big acorns at Redwoods in SF to learn to throw on his way to becoming a high school All-Stater one day, playing pitch-and-catch and hotbox all the time, scoring a 4-6-3 double play, asking Terry Mulholland to sign your scorebook after his no-hitter, watching Joe Carter’s ’93 homer land right in front of you, being there for Cal’s 2,131st, being there for Big Mac’s 62nd, being there for Michael Jordan’s Spring Training experiment, remembering how mad you were in ’94 and how happy you are now, standing next to Youk and Papelbon on the infield grass last October at Fenway as they did the strut immediately after clinching the pennant, just loving baseball. I still love it and I know you do, too.

Who’s going to win it all?

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