I will agree that warm weather, daylight savings, and vacations are fine and great, but Major League Baseball remains the best thing about summer.

Eleven days have passed since the new season began and already there are many things to discuss. Although I wouldn’t call this column a season preview, it is undoubtedly filled with forecasts for the upcoming year. I want to point out that I am no expert, and that my words amount to nothing but one fan and his opinions.

The Yankees are obviously the standout team in the American League. With the acquisitions of Jason Giambi, David Wells and Robin Ventura, New York has pretty much bought another trip to the World Series. Sure, the Yankees can hit but they win because of their pitching. Their rotation of Wells, Roger Clemens, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte and former World Series MVP Orlando Hernandez, who is healthy, might be the best ever. Their closer, Mariano Rivera, is pretty good too. I hate the Yankees though. But I hate them because they’re good.

I think New York, Boston, Cleveland and Oakland will all make the AL playoffs. The Indians will win the AL Central if Bartolo Colon and C.C. Sabathia continue to dominate. David Justice, Jermaine Dye and Eric Chavez, plus the A’s three young pitchers, push them ahead of Seattle in the AL West, but I still think the Yankees will play in the Fall Classic.

The National League is harder to call. I think Gary Sheffield makes Chipper Jones better and the Braves will win the NL East again. My team, the Pirates, will outlast the overrated Cardinals and win the NL Central. The Giants win the NL West, but Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling are still in Arizona. Barry Bonds is God but he can’t hit in October. Game seven of the NLCS, bottom of the ninth, Giants down by one, two out, one on, Bonds whiffs on a Johnson slider, strike three. The wild card Diamondbacks win the pennant.

Yankees win the World Series over the Diamondbacks in six games and Rivera wins the series MVP. Alex Rodriguez wins the AL MVP despite the Rangers losing 90 games and Bonds wins his fifth NL MVP. Guessing how many homers Bonds will hit will be under a microscope. He’ll hit a lot though. I predict someone will strike out 24 Brewers in one game, the Padres will have a perfect game thrown against them and I am hoping Jeremy Giambi has a better year than his brother Jason.

It’ll be a scary year if I’m right.