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Arts and Entertainment

The Dodgers Are Back!

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Andre Ethier celebrating the Dodgers NL West championship with the fans. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
One of my favorite memories of the last baseball season was sitting next to the legendary Jerry Coleman when the San Diego Padres were in town. In the first inning David Eckstein was at bat with one out. He hit a ball gently to the right of Orlando Hudson. Hudson inexplicably misplayed it, and Eckstein was safe on first. E4.

“You better tell your guy to stop being cool,” Coleman said.

Mind you except for a hello, we hadn’t exchanged words up to that point.

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“Which one,” I asked.

“Oh what’s his name who just made that error. He’s too cool to use two hands.”

From that point on we just started talking baseball with him regaling me stories of those Yankees teams he was on in the 1950s led by the professor Casey Stengel. In the middle innings he left to do commentary for Padres radio, but we continued when he came back out. What struck me was that despite being 55 years his junior we could connect on an intellectual and emotional level because of this game of baseball.

Neither my fantasy baseball draft nor the calendar could get it into my head. It took me parking in Dodger Stadium and stepping into the Stadium at the Top of the Park to hit me: baseball season is finally here. It’s a time of romanticism as each waft of the freshly cut grass enters the nostrils and a new set of memories lie there on the field waiting to drift into our heads.

On the 55th anniversary of the Dodgers’ first World Series championship in Brooklyn in 1955, the hope for the first championship in 22 years hangs everywhere literally. In the Dodgers clubhouse banners picturing the six World Series winning moments hang from the ceiling. Quotes of great Dodgers of the past line the top of the lockers.

The only thing stopping the Dodgers is their pitching. Once again there are questions running up and down that rotation and bullpen. It remains to be seen whether they can pull it out like last season.

But here are my predictions for the season:

NL East
1. Florida Marlins
2. Philadelphia Phillies
3. Atlanta Braves
4. Washington Nationals
5. New York Mets

NL Central
1. Milwaukee Brewers
2. St. Louis Cardinals (Wild Card)
3. Chicago Cubs
4. Cincinnati Reds
5. Houston Astros
6. Pittsburgh Pirates

NL West
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. San Francisco Giants
3. Colorado Rockies
4. San Diego Padres
5. Arizona Diamondbacks

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AL East
1. New York Yankees
2. Tampa Bay Rays (Wild Card)
3. Boston Red Sox
4. Toronto Blue Jays
5. Baltimore Orioles

AL Central
1. Minnesota Twins
2. Chicago White Sox
3. Kansas City Royals
4. Chicago White Sox
5. Cleveland Indians

AL West
1. Seattle Mariners
2. Oakland Athletics
3. Los Angeles Angels
4. Texas Rangers

NLDS: Cardinals over Marlins; Dodgers over Brewers.
NLCS: Cardinals over Dodgers.
NL MVP: Albert Pujols
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw

ALDS: Yankees over Mariners; Twins over Rays.
ALCS: Yankees over Twins.
AL MVP: Ichiro Suzuki
AL Cy Young: Cliff Lee

World Series: Yankees over Cardinals.