Predicting the Dodgers' season: Take it to the bank
Here are this year’s 25 things I absolutely guarantee will happen with the Dodgers this season. As you recall, I went a perfect 25-for-25 last season. Anyway, that's the way I remember it.
1) Fans will wait all the way until the second inning of the season opener before their first brain-dead "Giants suck" chant.
2) The only Dodgers story of national interest this season will continue to be the ownership divorce.
3) Vin Scully will remain the greatest Dodgers treasure ever.
4) Tony Gwynn Jr. will be the Dodgers best center fielder. Unfortunately, he'll play in left.
5) No-shows will hit record numbers, though those numbers won't be released.
6) By mid-May, Jonathan Broxton will have lost his role as the closer. Hope I'm wrong, but can't shake it.
7) Matt Kemp’s bat will return, but defensively he'll still get some of the worst jumps in baseball.
8) The Dodgers won't be able to fight the temptation and by mid-summer will call up right-hander Rubby De La Rosa. And it will work.
9) Nobody will miss Russ Ortiz, Ramon Ortiz or Charlie Haeger. Really, this is progress.
10) James Loney will hit 12 home runs with 102 RBI, and the stat wonks will cry for his head.
11) Jamey Carroll will play almost as many games as he did last season (133), crooked digit and all.
12) After visiting his 23rd ophthalmologist, Jay Gibbons will finally find a pair of contacts that solves his vision trouble.
13) Frank McCourt will be introduced at Dodger Stadium and be booed. Again.
14) Rod Barajas will hit more home runs than Russell Martin managed in the last two seasons combined (12).
15) In August, Ronald Belisario will announce he's going to get that visa any day now.
16) The Dodgers will make last season's .322 on-base percentage look lofty.
17) Don Mattingly will deserve better.
18) Clayton Kershaw will win 15 games, strike out 220 and finish third in the N.L. Cy Young voting.
19) Andre Ethier will have a career year, and then be absolutely certain he'll be non-tendered after the 2012 season.
20) Jamie McCourt will celebrate so wildly after her divorce settlement, she'll balloon to a size 1.
21) Rafael Furcal won't go on the disabled list once all year. I'm feeling dangerous.
22) Kemp will not be romantically linked to a single diva. Tabloid sales plummet.
23) Carlos Santana will threaten to become Ned Colletti’s Pedro Martinez.
24) Regardless of the size of the crowd, stadium concession lines will still go 15 deep.
25) The Dodgers will repeat 2010, going 80-82 and finishing fourth in the N.L. West.
-- Steve Dilbeck
Photo: Matt Kemp will have a comeback year, at least at the plate. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times