While I'd love to state the paragraph above is satire...there's a surprising number of people who will read it as absolute fact. The prediction business in sports is always hilarious but when making World Series calls before a single pitch is thrown...it all but guarantees you've doomed the predicted team. Much like the Nationals of...the past two seasons, the Cubs are on top for now (and will certainly be a good team this year) but haven't proven anything yet. The need to even "predict" a final winner at this stage makes no sense; I'd be just as cynical if the Pirates were picked to win it all...in fact it's probably good that they weren't.
I remember when the Penguins were playing well in the 2009 Stanley Cup playoffs, I became obsessed with the prediction business. Before each game, I'd find and read every article about who "would win" that night; becoming exciting with a Penguins prediction and angry when the Capitals or Red Wings were favored. By the end of the process though, I realized...no one really had any idea what they were talking about. Would the Penguins win on a given night? Maybe. Maybe Not. That's really all the prediction you need. To bet on a single game with a friend might be fun, and to wager on a quick series in the playoffs might make things interesting...but to predict a 162 game season? Ridiculous. Unless of course you're looking to laugh at yourself when the season is over.
The Pirates return tomorrow and I have no idea if they'll beat the Cubs this year. They have a great team, but two difficult rivals in the division. They could beat each other up and all qualify....or a true juggernaut could emerge. The Pirates could finally win the division...or easily miss the playoffs to the Nationals, Giants, Marlins, Cubs, Cardinals, and Mets. Trying to stress and predict can't much help anyone...the only thing to do now is watch.