Foul Ball Predictions for the 2016 MLB Season and Beyond

ball2Everyone loves predictions. Too often we see predictions of which team has the best starting rotation, which players might be in contention for the batting title or some other award, and the teams most likely to make it to the postseason. However, sometimes we need a little break from these more mundane and basic predictions . I offer you that break in the following list (or more accurately, I offer you some “foul” predictions). My prognostications for the 2016 MLB season are somewhat serious, or at least seriously tongue-in-cheek:

  • All 30 teams will save money on baseballs this season due to extended netting; teams will have more BP and MiLB balls to use. However, the financial losses as a result of the obstructed views—no foul balls can get to the fan due to the obstructions—will significantly offset those gains.
  • MLB will announce a shortened season starting during the 2018 season. Teams will still play 162 games, but more doubleheaders will be played in order to speed up games and shorten the season so baseball isn’t played in October. This decision is made in order to avoid stiff competition for game viewership and attendance. Currently, MLB is competing against the other three pro sports for attention.
  • It will be announced that one of the Florida teams (most likely the Marlins) will be relocating to Montreal. The second team may end up in Vancouver, B.C. or Niagara Falls, ON.
  • All MLB teams will begin using FoulBallz© foul ball cards. They will hand out the cards to any lucky fan who cleanly catches a foul ball during a game. (Shameless self-promotion)
  • In a wild reversal of what the rumors were prior to the start of the 2016 MLB season, MLB will not only NOT go to a National League DH in 2017 or 2018, they will begin testing the idea of no DH at all in either league using AA teams as guinea pigs.Foul Ball Diagram
  • Max Scherzer will somehow manage to return to Detroit as a Tiger now that Al Avila is the GM. (I’m a huge Scherzer and Tigers fan. I realize this is just wishful thinking on my part. L )
  • There will be at least one netting incident in which the netting falls and kills a fan during the 2016 season. This quickly ends the debate over extended netting. The weight of the netting, an investigation determines, placed too much strain on the braces.
  • Someone will open a brick-and-mortar Women’s Baseball Museum. Finished by the end of the 2016 MLB season, there is a place that finally recognized the efforts women have made in baseball, including playing the game. I take my daughter to the Grand Opening.
  • Justin Verlander tries to break “The Kate Upton Curse” by proposing to her. Emphasis on “tries.”
  • MLB reports Statcast will replace umpires while making instant replay unnecessary. A durable robot will be placed behind the netting and call balls and strikes.
  • Three of the most unique voices in show business—Gilbert Godfrey, Nicolas Cage and Cindy Lauper—are hired to be the voices of the umpire robots.
  • MLB will begin prosecuting parents who endanger their children by going after foul balls while the child is strapped to them. Manfred reminds parents in a very terse press release: “Turn away from the ball!” Adding that teams that witness parents who do turn to protect their child are obligated to reward the parent with free tickets to another game, the first pitch at that game, and VIP seating. It’s called “The Good Parent Award.”
  • In addition to the DH test in AA, MLB announces they will be running a trial during Spring Training that flips the DH in the leagues, with the NL having the DH and the AL not. They believe the Leagues should flip-flop depending on which league wins the All-Star Game. A second idea was batted around: Alternate years making it so one season the NL has the DH, the next only the AL has it, then both have it, then neither league does. That will prove too convoluted and be dropped.
  • MLB considers netting over each dugout and around the on-deck circle and the 1B and 3B coaching boxes for safety reasons. They begin contemplating netting off the umpire too. However, the death of a fan from falling netting nixes that idea.
  • The Mets and the Nationals, despite the loss of Max Scherzer back to the Tigers, have two of the best starting rotations this year. To prove whose is best, the owners of both teams bet they can waste the least innings on their bullpens, forcing their starters to go as deep as the 9th inning regardless of the score. Mets win the bet, but end up not making the postseason. The Nats lose the bet, lose Scherzer, yet still manage to make the post season.
  • The AL wins the All-Star Game. Score: 14-7. 62 foul balls will be hit. Only three make it on the fly into the seats.