The 2012 baseball season is almost upon us, and all signs point to another exciting year of backdoor sliders, shoestring catches and tape-measure blasts. Hope abounds for players, managers and fans. At this point, every team has a chance and can say with certainty that they are tied for first place.
And, who knows, maybe they’ll stay in first place. Maybe they’ll make the playoffs. Maybe this will be the year they win it all. If they catch a few breaks and make a couple of smart trades and the crafty veterans come through and the young prospects shine. If, if, if …
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Most baseball writers do a preseason prediction column where they take a guess at how the season is going to turn out. Sometimes they use gut feelings and sometimes they use advanced mathematical calculations factoring in a wide variety of statistical knowledge. But it’s all kind of a waste of time, because you can’t possibly know the infinity of weirdnesses that can take place in any season.
That being said, here is my attempt at one of these “wastes of time.” However, instead of trying to predict the overall champion or even the two separate league champions, I’m going to break down the teams into different tiers designating their caliber and thereby their championship probability.
And I will be using the most advanced mathematical equation that I know of in order to make these predictions: The Real Housewives television franchise.
For those of you who don’t know about this series of shows, it is one of the more successful reality show concepts with franchises based in cities throughout the U.S. And for those of you who don’t know how I can use a reality show to measure the relative potential success of Major League Baseball teams, I’m kind of nuts.
The Real Housewives was created in the wake of the success of the Desperate Housewives television show, and each series, starting with Orange County, follows a gaggle of local housewives who are friends or at least share some social circles. While sometimes it’s not quite clear what it is that makes these women “friends,” the one thing in their lives they all have in common is abject boredom. The basic foundation of every show is that idle hands are the devil’s workshop. And these are some of the idlest hands ever assembled.
Of course, they all claim they are “so busy” but you’d be hard-pressed to find anything that these women actually did. Every one of these ladies on every one of these shows proclaims in no uncertain terms that they can’t stand “drama.” And yet, that is clearly the one activity that all of them pursue.
As with most reality programming, the real star of all these shows is alcohol. Yes, the ladies can be catty and envious and spiteful, but when you add wine or mimosas or cosmos, all of these get amplified and things start to get out of hand. And, fortunately, the cameras are rolling.
Now, I’m no misogynist and I don’t usually like to speak in generalities, but for the most part, these ladies aren’t the smartest folks. After all, each one of them signed contracts allowing a TV show to film their personal lives. There is something broken about a person who thinks this is a good idea. They lie, trash talk, incite drama, scream, attack, cry and fight – while being filmed on a medium that allows for later viewing for the entire free world!
I started watching these shows because of my wife. She likes the shows, but she loves watching them with me because I constantly comment, pause, rewind and break down the shenanigans – ranting and raving about the idiots on our television. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a more unintentionally hilarious group of idiots on any other channel. So, let’s do this!
The Real Housewives Scale of Team Championship Probability™
To get this started, let’s begin with the worst teams and work our way up – that way we can end on a positive note.
Real Housewives of Miami
Pirates, Orioles, Twins, Mariners and Athletics.
What? Miami? Yeah, they did a season there. I think they canceled that series. The reason you’ve probably never heard of this one is because it was awful. I know, I know – they’re all awful. But this was awful-awful, not good-awful. The ladies on this show weren’t just bored – they were boring. It just didn’t seem like their hearts were into it and I’m not even sure any of them were actually housewives. Accordingly, this is the tier where we find the awful-awful teams in the league.
Bad trades, bad injuries, bad free-agent signings and a lot of bad luck have wound these teams up at the bottom of the barrel. And the Twins are the best example – they were one of the top teams just a couple years ago and then just seemed to fall apart with everything all at once. But the rest of them, except the horribly run Orioles, appear to be on the upswing and could be contending within a couple years.
But, Jed, what about the truly terrible Houston Astros? Surely they must be in this category. No, reader, they are actually below the bottom of the barrel.
Bethenny Frankel – Real Housewives of New York
I’ve actually never seen the New York show. But I have seen a couple episodes of Bethenny’s spin-off shows. And by “seen,” I mean “endured their excruciating agony.” There’s a distinct possibility that she’s the absolute worst person on television – just an unrelentingly tedious egomaniacal, self-centered narcissist. And to make things worse, a strange combination of aging, malnourishment and plastic surgery has transformed her physically into a likeness of Skeletor – with the personality to match.
What has happened to the Astros over the last few years has been terrible. The team’s former general manager, Ed Wade, drove the team into the ground and traded away most of its valuable assets for pennies on the dollar and mostly to Ed’s former team the Philadelphia Phillies. I’m not sure how he was able to do what he did without intervention from the team’s owner, the Commissioner’s Office or Amnesty International. Houston has a long way to go to even be considered average, but at least now they’ve got new management and Ed Wade can do no more harm.
And I feel like a bigger deal should be made of this, but you’ll never guess what team Ed works for now – never in a million guesses. Okay, yes, it just took one guess: the Phillies – though one could argue that he never really stopped working for Philadelphia.
Real Housewives of New Jersey
White Sox, Royals, Cubs, Rockies, Padres, Dodgers
I’ve only watched the New Jersey ladies a couple times, and while they weren’t as uninteresting as the Miami coven, the show just doesn’t quite do it for me. I don’t want to say too many bad things about the Jersey girls, what with the possible (probable!) mob connections they all have. They’re certainly a more aggressive bunch, and they certainly have their drama – but they seem to lack that unintentionally hilarious thing. Maybe they’re smarter than the other groups. Maybe not.
These six teams don’t do it for me either. Sure, one of them might have a fluky season and propel themselves into the playoffs. I just don’t think so. I like where the Royals are headed and the Cubs did a nice job of filling holes on their team while shifting to the rebuilding mode we all knew they needed years ago before Jim Hendry spent those hundreds of millions on players that were never going to make it to the playoffs.
The three National League West teams in this tier are probably the best of the bunch and I guess there’s an outside chance they could win their division – but that’s more because the other two teams aren’t that great.
Real Housewives of Orange County
Nationals, Mets, Giants, Diamondbacks, Blue Jays, Indians
Now, here is where things start getting interesting. The Orange County series was the original, and while it’s not the best, it still comes through each week with enough lying, cheating and fighting to breech anyone’s faith in humanity. If aliens saw this show and thought for one second that this was at all a representation of the human race, they would set their phasers on KILL, KILL, KILL.
It seems like everyone on the show is filing for divorce, getting plastic surgery or talking about divorce or plastic surgery. They’re constantly starting new businesses that are certain to fail but it’s okay because their husbands (or exes) are rich and they can call it a tax write off.
None of these women are actually friends by any definition you might consider, and they are eternally embroiled in synthetic drama from upsets and quarrels that have very little basis in fact or reality. And the only reason any of these cows tries to mend the fence is in the hopes that somehow it will create even more drama with another one of them. So, yeah, it’s pretty good.
In this tier, much like the OC show, there’s a lot of new faces here (get it – plastic surgery joke!). The Giants are probably the favorites to win their division, but like our Real Housewives they are so one-dimensional – that offense is just so terrible. The Diamondbacks and Blue Jays will continue to get better this season and next, but this is probably about the peak for the Indians, like Gretchen Rossi who has dreams of singing or dancing and being a star. Sorry, Gretchen, this is where your career train stops. Enjoy it – we are.
The Nationals are on the way up and new to this tier. Heather Dubrow is new to the show this season – she’s condescending, makes snide comments and has a completely unfounded air of superiority. In other words, she’s fitting in perfect. This will be the last year for the Mets in this tier. They’re headed south – and probably for a while. A lot like Vicki Gunvalson who is a recently divorced roller-coaster of emotions – though she is one of the few women on all these shows that seems to have any business sense – so not really that similar to the Mets.
Real Housewives of Atlanta
Tigers, Angels, Braves, Marlins, Reds, Brewers
Down in the ATL is where the action starts getting really good. Everyone on this show has or had some sort of gripe with everyone else on the show and the hatred ebbs and flows from show to show and season to season. There is no actual friendship on the show, just fluctuating degrees of not-hating-you-as-much. Every one of them is a hypocrite and sometimes will even accuse someone else of doing something which they are themselves guilty of in the same show!
They all claim to hate fake people who create drama while they are talking behind each other’s backs being fake and creating drama. All of the women, whether or not they are a housewife, seem to be set financially. However, it’s that weird new-rich where they can’t stop talking about the designer labels and the extravagance of it all – while steadfastly proclaiming a distaste for any who would be so superficial.
Of these teams, thanks to the increased number of playoff teams, three will make it to postseason play. And recent history has shown us that’s all you need in order to make a run at the championship. You don’t have to be the best team of the year – just the best team of the last month.
The Tigers will easily win their division, but they’re in this tier because their division isn’t very good. So, yes, they’re the best in their division, but that’s like saying you’re the best Real Housewife. The Brewers are in as well. They’re like Nene Leakes – you can take the fat guy (husband) out of her life and she’s going to keep on keeping on. I think the Braves will also make the playoffs with that sweet pitching staff and the youngsters getting better.
I think the Marlins, Reds and Angels are on the outside looking in at the end of the season. The Angels made some interesting additions this year, but they remind me of the Atlanta housewives in that they all think they are much better than they actually are. The Reds have almost enough talent to make it, so don’t be surprised if they get past their manager’s incompetence and have a huge year. The Marlins are like Sheree Whitfield – erratic, emotional, a little crazy and you have no idea what she’s going to do next. Her life seems to be in an accelerated downward spiral and she’s trying to take everyone down with her – friend or foe.
Also on this show, and I hope this doesn’t sound racist, is Kim. She’s the only white girl on the show and she’s easily the second worst person on the planet (see Skeletor above). And she won’t stop procreating – bad news for people in Atlanta but great news for us viewers.
Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Rangers, Phillies, Cardinals
This is the jewel in the Real Housewives crown. These ladies are the best of the best. It’s not only the best of the franchise; it might just be the best comedy on television right now. Where the Orange County women are all getting plastic surgery, all of these ladies have already gotten theirs – some of those faces are pulled so tight, they look like they’re in a wind tunnel.
These women are super-rich. They live in Beverly Hills, so, duh! This show has so many shows within the show like “What Narcotic is Kim Richards on?” or “Who Is Drunk and Who Is Hammered Out of Their Minds?” and my personal favorite “Who Castrated All These Husbands?”
Every episode seems to revolve around somebody’s “really important” party. I adore when these gals throw a fundraising party where the cost of the party exceeds (by far) the funds raised for the charity. So really all that happened was that whoever threw the party got to revel in the glow of everyone thinking they were important at least for one night.
All of the teams in this tier are making the playoffs. Period. Unless they don’t. The Rangers went to the World Series last year and almost won, and they are the defending American League champs. Kyle Richards is pretty much the show’s ringleader. She always comes across like she’s trying to convince the producers she should just have her own show. She’s one of the main drama instigators, but always acts like she would never do anything even remotely like that. There’s no real way to say which of these women is the “best” on the show, but I definitely have my favorite: Lisa Vanderpump. So I guess in that way, she’s the Red Sox for me. She’s a feisty older gal who seems to be the most level-headed among a not-very level-headed bunch.
The Cardinals are included more out of respect for having won last year, but they don’t really belong with these other very good teams – kind of like the show’s Taylor Armstrong. She’s not actually rich. Her husband recently committed suicide, so that’s a little similar to the Cardinals losing Albert Pujols and Tony LaRussa. Yes, I’m being insensitive, but if you watch her on the show, you can see easily why her husband would have wanted to “sign with another team.”
The Rays just might have what it takes to go all the way this season – like new addition Brandi Glanville who is a disturbing combo of good looks, cattiness and not-smartness. The Phillies are very good, but they’re falling apart and Ed Wade isn’t in Houston to send them players anymore. Eventually the old age and injuries catch up. Right, Camille Grammer?
Since Adrienne Maloof and Lisa started getting feisty with each other this last season, and since Adrienne knows about getting older and squandering a fortune, clearly she’s the Yankees. They’ve got everything they need to make a run at the World Series. I think they’ll win the division, but the wheels could fall off this cart pretty quick.
Well, that’s every team and where I predict they’ll end up or where they are or whatever. I have no idea who will be the champion – because no one knows, so why even bother guessing at something as impossible as that? Besides, if I knew, do you think I would tell you? What have you ever done for me? Double-besides, if I knew, don’t you think I’d just go to Vegas right now and bet a fortune on it?
Anyway, if you disagree with my predictions, just remember that these are all just my opinions – and your opinion is wrong.