Smell that sizzling animal fat? That freshly greased leather and those brand new jock straps? Baseball is back, baby. And it's going to be a hell of year for America's favorite pastime here in Miami.
hated enraging taxpayer-duping newly rechristened Miami Marlins begin spring training today. What better time for Riptide to consult our prize-winning team of sports scientists* on the new season? Keep reading for our carefully calibrated odds.
*Do not actually exist. Riptide not liable for betting results.
Odds that Ozzie Incites a War in South America:
After several months of restrained press conferences, new Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen will finally explode in a foul-mouthed Spanglish assault on Hugo Chávez. Calling the Venezuelan president una arepa de mierda, Guillen will unwittingly set off a 90-day skirmish between his home country and neighboring Colombia. The war will finally end when Chávez, Guillen, and Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos agree that all arepas simply taste kinda shitty.
Zambrano Finds Zen:
The Marlins' other Venezuelan acquisition -- pitcher Carlos Zambrano -- will head in the opposite direction. After a career full of meltdowns and mandated anger management classes, Zambrano will fill the zen-shaped hole left in Miami when Ricky Williams retired from the Dolphins in 2010. In his blissfully enlightened state, Zambrano will throw 70 mph fastballs and give up 15 runs per game but will hug all of his teammates after each loss.
The highly anticipated second season of Showtime's "The Franchise" will come to a sudden halt when the camera crew walks in on new Marlins closer Heath Bell stark naked, smeared in ketchup and mustard. With the pitcher's odd pre-game ritual discovered, Bell will instead take up Santería. He will emerge from the bullpen each night slathered in bull's blood and will not blow a single save.
The Pitcher Formerly Known as Leo Nuñez Gets Another Name Change:
Juan Carlos Oviedo aka Leo Nuñez will change his name to Meta World Pitcher in a last-ditch attempt at to leave the Dominican Republic and return to the Marlins. It won't work.
Reyes Battles His Demonic Dreads:
Spiteful over having to move to third base, Hanley Ramirez will buy José Reyes's dreadlocks off of eBay. The powerful charm will propel Ramirez to an All-Star first half of the season, until the hair abruptly abandons him to return to Reyes. The Dominican shortstop will wake up one morning with the dreads engulfing his head, and will have to tear them off to the music of T-Pain on Mansion's dance floor.