Throwing Down the Gauntlet

Tuesday, March 25 2003 @ 10:33 AM EST

Contributed by: Mick Doherty

OK ... this has been hinted at on Da Box previously, but it's time to make it happen. The first annual (usual disclaimer: nothing can really be "first annual" until after the second year) Batter's Box Predictions Contest.

No complicated "pick the order of finish of every team in the majors plus project the Toledo Mud Hens' team batting average" stuff. It's simple. Name the playoff teams, eventual champs and award winners, earn points for each correct prediction.

Everyone is invited to participate. All nine members of "The Lineup" are especially encouraged to cast their lots, and though not a requirement, those who don't will of course be considered a massive wuss.

And prizes? Oh YES, there are prizes. How would you like to be the proud owner of ...

... one hundred, I said ONE HUNDRED, that's 100 randomly selected Toronto Blue Jay baseball cards dating back to the glory days of Doug Ault and Garth Iorg to the more recent proud history of Eddie Zosky and Randy Knorr? [Cards donated courtesy "Shoeboxes in My Closet."]

To enter, you must publicly (here on Batter's Box, to avoid future disputes) post your predictions in the following categories. Include an e-mail address where you can be reached. Point values are as noted. They may seem random, but astute fans will figure out most of the reasons. To be fair, my own predictions will be included here shortly after the gauntlet is thrown. Trash talk is encouraged.

All entries must be received before each team has completed its first game (an uncertain deadline due to possible weather factors). If you post predictions, they can be changed until the deadline is passed if, for instance, someone blows out a knee or you get an epiphany about the Milwaukee Brewers.

AL West Champ: 4 points
AL Central Champ: 5 points
AL East Champ: 5 points
AL Wild Card: 11 points

NL West Champ: 5 points
NL Central Champ: 6 points
NL East Champ: 5 points
NL Wild Card: 13 points

AL Pennant Winner: 10 points
NL Pennant Winner: 10 points

World Series Champ: 12 points

AL MVP: 12 points
NL MVP: 12 points
AL Cy Young: 6 points
NL Cy Young: 6 points
AL Rookie: 15 points
NL Rookie: 15 points
Note: full credit will be given in case of a tie a la Keith Hernandez/Wille Stargell or John Castino/Alfredo Griffin, both of which, oddly enough, took place in 1979.

Tie Breaker: How many combined games will the Tigers, Devil Rays, Royals and Orioles lose this year?

Good luck to one and all. And in the immortal words of Larry Bird ... y'all are playing for second place.