With the new year a few days away, it is time to look onward, but not necessarily upward. Predictions, month by month for the year 2013:
MLB Hall of Fame voting results are released. Barry Bonds receives 58% of the vote, falling slightly short of the required 75% for induction. Roger Clemens falls short by a similar margin. Bloggers and pundits in favor of these players' induction into the Hall and fervently against such an action are both furious. "How could a majority of voters want these guys in?" someone will exclaim incredulously. "How could so large a group of voters want these guys out?" someone else will exclaim even more incredulously.
Sammy Sosa will receive 18% of the vote, falling well short of the checkpoint for people to care.
With Kobe Bryant no longer leading the NBA in scoring but the return of a healthy Steve Nash and Pau Gasol buoying the Los Angeles Lakers to an impressive two-month stretch, basketball analysts will pretend they never counted out the Lakers back in December. They will all pretend like they were expecting the turnaround once the big four were all playing together. They will all pretend like the internet doesn't exist to easily squash the validity of this backtracking.
With a ridiculously easy draw for the weakest one seed in the NCAA basketball tournament, Duke University will make a historic run to the Sweet Sixteen by beating every opponent by at least 22 points. In their Sweet Sixteen match-up though, facing the fifth seeded Butler Bulldogs in a rematch of the 2010 National Championship, current Utah Jazz forward and former Butler star Gordon Heyward is somehow allowed to come out of the stands and take a half court shot, which he nails, to give Butler a two point victory.
In their first series of the season, the New York Yankees face off against the Boston Red Sox. The teams manage to tie all three contests: a worrisome foreshadowing of the respective third and fourth place finishes in the AL East the teams will land. Also, Kevin Youkilis is booed lustily by both fan bases although the announcers make a point of telling the television viewers that everyone is simply yelling "Yoooouuuuuk!"
With the NHL playoffs in full swing, the Pittsburgh Penguins nab their 12th victory of the postseason, locking up a berth in the Stanley Cup finals and tying their victory total from the lockout-shortened regular season. The Penguins, who went 12-7 in the regular season, landed the six seed in the Eastern Conference and followed the hot play of their goaltender, Marc-Andre Fleury, all the way to the cup finals.
After very different regular season runs, where the Oklahoma City Thunder seemed to be out for blood every night on their way to 64 victories and the Miami Heat seemed to be out for lemonade during a stroll through the park on their way to 51 wins, the two meet once again in the NBA Finals. In his first finals appearance, newest Thunder player Kevin Martin pulls his very best James Harden impression by shooting terribly from the floor and disappearing for long stretches. The series takes an even larger turn in the Heat's favor however when, in a surprising twist, Kevin Durant brings The Wire analogy of him and Russell Westbrook being Stringer Bell and Avon Barksdale full circle by deciding to share his scoring abilities with his rivals during a co-op meeting held in a Miami Embassy Suites hotel.
Fresh off his return from a worrisome injury and surgery, Alex Rodriguez returns to the Yankees' lineup just three days before the All-Star break but somehow is invited to participate in the Home Run Derby. Fans feverishly discuss how his participation could hurt his comeback or his swing and come to a 100% consensus that he should not do it. Rodriguez, always keeping an ear to the public whispering, decides to pass up the competition and instead play in the MLB Futures game. He is mistaken for a player's father on six separate occasions. He is correctly identified as a player's father on one occasion. The two combine for the first ever father-son, back-to-back home runs in the 15 year history of the Futures game.
Entering Jets camp as the number one quarterback, rookie NFLer Mike Glennon finds himself in front of dozens of cameras and reporters before he has even thrown a mini-camp passing tree. Eventually the reporters all disperse as it turns out Mike Glennon is not NBA player Chase Budinger transitioning to his second professional sport as was previously thought. Before leaving, the last cameraman casually suggests to Glennon that he, "I don't know, dye your hair or something. You guys could seriously be twins."
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman, taking a page out of David Stern's playbook, announces his future retirement date as October 2023. Bettman explains how that will be the 10th year in a row of hockey seasons without a lockout taking place and it would be a fitting time to step away. A reporter at the press conference will then ask if Bettman meant 11th year, as 2023 would be 11 years after the 2012 lockout. Gary, bending into the microphone with a slight grin spreading over his face, says "No. 2023 will be the 10th anniversary; trust me. See you next month for the start of the season....or will you? HAHAHAHA!"
In the first ever MLB World Series match-up between two teams each with $200+ million payrolls, the Los Angeles Dodgers lose in five games to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Backed by Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols and mid-season acquisition Alex Rodriguez, the Angels' offense slices through the Dodgers' pitching staff. Interviewed after his three-homer game, A-Rod explains how by passing up the invitation to the Home Run Derby back in July, it really allowed him to hone his swing and hit all those second half home runs.
After going undefeated in 2012, but being ineligible for postseason play, Urban Meyer's Ohio State Buckeyes once again go undefeated in the regular season. As Meyer has made it obvious he is the baddest man in college football and no other school has any hope of winning a national title while he is still coaching, there is nothing remotely funny about this.
Heading into week 17 of the NFL season, the four NFC East teams are all tied at 9-6. With the schedule slanted towards divisional match-ups later in the year, the week 17 games happen to see the Giants playing the Redskins and the Cowboys facing the Eagles. With so many possible outcomes and tie-breakers to consider, the playoffs are left up in the air until after each of these games has finished up. In the waning seconds of the NY-Wash game, Eli Manning manages to squeak into the end zone on a ballsy end-around call that he audibled to at the line of scrimmage. However, the Giants' glee is quickly stomped out as it is discovered their 10-6 record was not good enough to win the division. Through a heavily controversial set of rules and regulations, it turned out that the Cowboys, also finishing 10-6, end up receiving the divisional crown because of a more entertaining press conference given by Tony Romo one day back in September when Eli Manning was "kind of bland and seemed disinterested in answering reporters' questions."