The Baseball Fan and 2012 predictions

By Archdeacon Howard Stringfellow

The Baseball Fan observes with great devotion the days of the Baseball Season, and it became the custom to prepare for Opening Day by a season of reflection and prediction.  This season provided a time for converts and seasoned Fans alike to share with each other their allegiances and analyses so that conversations, whether appointed or joyously unexpected, could begin with mutual understanding and awareness.

I invite you, therefore, in the name of the Game we love, to the observance of a truly great Season by self-examination and objectivity; by reflection, contemplation, and self-awareness; by differentiation from past rivalries and present and obligatory pay-backs; and by reading and studying The Sporting News' Baseball Annual, the sports pages, baseball blogs, and websites, and, perhaps, conversing (at arm's length) with baseball handicappers of renown (one of whom in The Great Gatsby sports cuff-links made of human molars).

Those of you whose predictions achieve a high congruence with the Season's outcomes may fully expect an appropriate acknowledgment after the last pitched ball.  To be considered for this prize, I shall need to have your predictions by Midnight of Tuesday, March 27, the day before (actually, six hours and ten minutes before), the first pitched ball of the 2012 Season in Tokyo, when the (Ancient) Mariners of Seattle visit the (White) Elephants of Oakland.  Opening Day in America will be April 4 when the Champion Cardinals open the Miami Marlins' new ballpark.

Your predictions this year should include two Wild Card picks per league.  A new playoff format, as I understand it, calls for a one-game playoff between wild card winners in what amounts to a play-in game for each league.  Whether this format will begin this Season or next is unknown at the moment.  A final decision is required by the Collective Bargaining Agreement by March 1.  I do not know if two Wild Cards can come from the same division.  MLB press releases have not addressed the new format.  If the new format is delayed, Wild Card 1 (not 2) will stand as your Wild Card pick.  For the purposes of tallying results, predicting correct playoff spots (Wild Cards or Division Champions) garner 3 points, League Champions 5 points, and World's Champion 10 points.

And, to make a right beginning to the Season, let us now kneel in silence to determine the results of our studies and our hopes for the Teams, and to set forth those results below:

2012 Baseball Season Predictions
Winners of Divisions and Wild Cards, League Champions, and World's Champion

AL East:
AL Central:
AL West:
AL Wild Card 1:
AL Wild Card 2:
AL Champion:

NL East:
NL Central:
NL West:
NL Wild Card 1:
NL Wild Card 2:
NL Champion:

World's Champion:

Play Ball!

Christian Formation Specialist Adds Days to Calendar

Editor's note: This was recently submitted by the head reporter for Noino. All attempts at verifying the new calendar have met with worldwide committee requests for clarification at the UN.

In a bold move, The Rev. Anne E Kitch, Canon for Formation in the Christian Faith of the Diocese of Bethlehem, presented a new calendar late last week. Known as The Calendar 2012 (but to be referred to as the New Calendar for the next 30 years), its main feature is the addition of three days to the month of March.

“It’s quite straightforward,” said Canon Kitch from her office in Bethlehem. “This year March has 34 days.”  Kitch claims this is hardly an innovation, but rather a formation opportunity (or as others call it, a learning experience). According to the sometimes clamorous canon, both the Julian calendar adopted in 46 BCE and the Gregorian calendar of 1582 only approximate the solar year. “Every 400 years or so, we need to add three days. I thought this was the year to do it,” she articulated.

Tax accountant Royce Beiner was grateful. “We are always so crunched at tax time,” he said, “having these extra days sure makes a difference. I got right down on my knees and thanked her.”

Major John W. Pittston was also enthusiastic, “Wow! I had no idea she was that clever. I’m hopeful she can find some extra days in August too. I could really use them there, September rolls around so swiftly.” Effects were noted as far away as Moscow, where a minor noble hoped all would “use the extra days wisely.”

A venerable official from Diocesan House, who spoke on condition of anonymity, voiced a note of caution. “This does raise some serious issues. For example, where will the Ides of March fall?”

Some speculated that the choice of March for the additional days was not related to ancient precepts but merely because it is Kitch’s birth month. Her Bishop could not be reached for comment.

*****Responsive Reports
Episcopal Laity and Clergy Protest Additional Three Days of Lent

The announcement of an additional three days added to March, and and extension of the already lengthy period of Lenten disciplines was greeted this afternoon by protests among both laity and clergy of the Episcopal Church.  A march on the Cathedral is planned for February 21 (the day before the Christian celebration of Ash Wednesday) and marchers have told Episcopal News Service that they will be wearing green, yellow, and purple in honor of Mardi Gras, and will be presenting Canon Kitch (who allegedly initiated the extended Lent) with a King Cake.  Their shouts of "let her eat cake" are expected to fill the corner of Bridge St. and Third St. around the Cathedral.

While some persons are reported to have jumped for joy at the new March calendar, and others are said to have gotten "down on [their] knees" in gratitude, most Episcopal laity and clergy feel differently, according to Episcopal cafe blogger, Gerns DrewAn.

"Why couldn't she have extended Easter Season to 53 days?  Why Lent?" he wrote.  "Is she some kind of killjoy?  We think she may be allergic to celebration, and hence she extended the season of Lent rather than Eastertide."

Gerns DrewAn suggested that Canon Kitch might want to consider taking a sabbatical on the Neuropsychology of Fun.