The New Year is upon us! And while 2022’s first gift was one heck of a hangover, we’re back to lay out some of our premonitions for the year ahead! Since we’re all missing baseball, we asked our writers to call three separate shots, all with varying probability, that they think will come true in the new year.
First off, you’ve got your bunt. Not always a sure thing, but in today’s game, if you catch the defense in a shift you can easily steal a hit by laying one down on the infield grass. Next up, is the contact swing. While most of our little coaches lied to us by saying “Just put it in play!” a contact swing does just that. You’re very much playing your odds here by hoping the ball finds some green in the outfield. That being said, with BABIPs (Batting Average on Balls In Play) dropping across the league, even a contact swing isn’t safe. And finally, there’s the big cut otherwise known as “what my entire softball team likes to take in the top of the first inning.” These are attempted moonshot, all-or-nothing swings that you put everything behind. In a less physical sense, the batter is risking a day’s worth of embarrassment should they miss, and more often than not, they do.
So, let’s strap in and see which Turf writer is swinging the biggest bat as we dive into 2022!
Bunt: David Ortiz is a first ballot Hall of Famer
Despite having the faintest aroma of steroids taint around him and playing just under 90% of his games as a designated hitter, Ortiz will get into Cooperstown on his first try. As I mentioned in my Hall of Fame gut votes article, Big Papi is as much a lock for his hitting as he is for his magnanimous personality and the joy he brought to the game of baseball, as well as his clutch postseason performances. The early returns look encouraging for Ortiz, who leads the way at 82.7% with 110 ballots reporting.
Contact Swing: The 2022 MLB season doesn’t start on time, if at all
As far as current players go, I think we’re headed for the second shortened season in the last three years as the lockout drags on with the two sides still not close. There are so many layers to these CBA negotiations, from the product itself on the field, which is almost unwatchable, to the minutia of service time, revenue sharing and arbitration. I don’t think we get it settled by February 1st which would likely mean spring training gets pushed back and the dominoes fall from there.
Big Cut: The United States does not make it out of the group stage at World Cup 2022
I just don’t have a great feeling about the US, who hasn’t played all that great against some weak CONCACAF opponents and will always be tested more in the World Cup than they will in qualifying. If they draw a few European teams and a South American side, they might be in trouble. I know this young talented squad is the future of USA soccer, but I think that future might still be four years away.
Bunt: Shohei Ohtani wins MVP again.
I think it’s pretty safe to say assuming Shohei Ohtani stays healthy he’s going to bring home the MVP trophy once again. In 2021, Ohtani hit .257/.372/.592 with 46 homers, 26 doubles, eight triples, 100 RBIs, 103 runs and 26 stolen bases in 155 games. On the mound, he made 23 starts and went 9-2 with a 3.18 ERA and 156 strikeouts in 130 1/3 innings. These are stats that none of us have seen in our lifetimes and maybe never will again. If he stays healthy, he should easily win the MVP once again.
Contact Swing: Steelers trade up for Kenny Pickett.
We all know that the Steelers are facing an identity crisis in the coming season. They have a good defense with the best defensive player in the league on the team and a running back who can do it all. The one piece that’s missing for the future is a QB. Mason Rudolph is not the answer. Given current projections, Pitt standout Kenny Pickett is not assumed to fall to the Steelers’ pick. However, there was a certain Pitt player who the Steelers failed to grab in the 1983 draft which haunted them in the 80s (Dan Marino). They relied on Mark Malone and you see what that did for them, right? Let’s not let history repeat itself. Trade up, get Pickett, and send Mason Rudolph to the CFL.
Big Cut: Antonio Brown retires from football and takes up boxing.
After the antics in a matchup against the Jets and Bucs, Antonio Brown has played his last snap in the NFL. I think he’s ok with this decision. He’s about to make some serious money boxing against people like the Paul brothers. It just seems like the natural next step for the volatile Brown. He’s a terrible person who has self-destructed himself and destroyed his own career but this world lets the rich and famous have plenty of opportunities. He’ll make millions boxing, for sure.
Kevin Michael Morin
Bunt: There will be a Baseball Hall of Fame voting controversy
The fact of the matter is that the BBWAA can’t get out of their own way. Whether it’s keeping out Clemens or Bonds, or voting in Curt Schilling, they will find a way to cause problems. Because, ultimately, it’s about them, not the players.
Contact Swing: The Nets reversing their stance on Kyrie will blow up in their faces
Kyrie was banned from practices and away games by the Brooklyn Nets until he got the COVID vaccine. He has refused and apparently called their bluff. He may be rusty, but put up points as a part-time player. But at some point, the inner Antonio Brown will be unleashed and Kyrie will somehow become more of a distraction. Then, my question to Brooklyn becomes “was it work the risk?”.
Big Cut: Tottenham will win a trophy
Spurs finally brought in a current world-class manager in Antonio Conte, and the whole personality of the club is turning around. After the summer saga with talisman Harry Kane, the club needed some calm. Conte may be anything but calm, but he certainly has leveled things out in North London. They have two domestic cups to play for in 2022, and I think they’ll sneak their way into taking one home. Will that be enough to keep their big names and invest in others to join the cause? Maybe. Will it then be the time for Conte to immediately leave after doing what nobody in the past 13 years has been able to do? Will the top players find a home elsewhere after some long-awaited silverware? All hard maybes.
Bunt: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will not repeat as Super Bowl Champions
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers simply have too many injuries and too much drama going on with this team right now. And I don’t think Tom Brady’s current Head Coach will be able to keep the team as focused as his former Head Coach could.
Contact Swing: A prominent player will miss an NFL playoff game due to COVID protocols
I don’t like making Covid protocol news one of my predictions, at all. But with all the cases on the rise, this just feels like it’s more than likely to happen. I also hope I am not jinxing the Patriots here too.
Big Cut: The 2022 Week 1 starter for the Denver Broncos will be Aaron Rodgers
My third pick is also tied to my thinking the Packers will not win the Super Bowl, allowing Rodgers to again be the center of attention this offseason. The Broncos are very reminiscent of the Buccaneers’ situation that Brady went to a few years ago. Ascending young talent at the skill positions (Williams/Jeudy/Fant) and a top defense (DEN is 3rd in Points Allowed and 9th in Yards Allowed). If Rodgers is also worried about his safety and career longevity, he’d have a pretty good protector of his blindside too.
Bunt: The Mets finish within 3 games of .500 at the 2022 Trade Deadline
First things first, we need to have a 2022 baseball season before we get to the trade deadline. But, let’s just say there will be and everything goes smoothly, I think it’s 100% possible that the Mets underachieve in their first year under Buck Showalter‘s management. Is there a particular reason why? No, not really. This is what the Mets do when they lean into the unbridled optimism of a potent offseason. The Mets are a funky franchise, and that means there’s usually some turbulence before they reach cruising altitude.
Contact Swing: De’Aaron Fox remains a Sacramento King
As the only Sacramento Kings fan in the Tri-State area, I just want to clear something up. There is no way that the Kings part with De’Aaron Fox, which renders any conversations of him coming to the Knicks moot. Why would the Kings double down on a decade-long rebuild when Fox is the only draft pick that’s reached his potential in the last several seasons? Seriously. De’Aaron Fox makes sense as a trade target, but the trade does not make sense for the Kings.
Big Cut: Jake Paul fights an actual Boxer and gets rocked
Jake Paul’s boxing career is like a car crash. You don’t want to look at it, but in the end, there’s that morbid curiosity you just can’t shake and or a brief moment in time the animalistic part of your brain opens your eyes wider than normal to take in all of the macabre scenes in front of you as you contemplate your own mortality in the face of danger? It’s like that. But the odd piece is that Jake Paul has yet to fight a true boxer. So far every fighter the younger Paul brother has faced has been a former MMA fighter. While those men are still fighters, there’s a distinct difference between boxing a well-trained boxer, and boxing someone playing out of their league. One of the reasons Holly Holm was about to take down Rhonda Rousey was due to her training as an Olympic boxer. If Paul can face a true boxer and win, he’ll earn the respect of the sport’s harshest critics. Until then, he’s got a question mark next to his name.
- / 12 months ago
To me, Rachel Nichols is the personification of posting a black square on Instagram.