I find it hard to believe I've been doing this thing for five years now, but here we are. Something struck me while looking back over the previous years' contests that making accurate predictions about the season of baseball ahead isn't difficult because baseball is unpredictable, but rather it is difficult because a season of baseball is such a long time. Baseball is actually pretty easy to predict, but many things will happen over the length of a season that fall far outside the bounds of what can be predicted at all. Anyway, perhaps this is an oblique way of looking at things, but let's see in six months how much of what we got wrong had to do with six months of baseball and how much had to do with six months of life.
As in years past, the winner will have the choice of two great prizes while the second place winner will get what remains. Whoever scores worst will win a terrible, terrible surprise. Past worst "winners" include a Ricky/Al baseball card set and an autographed Ty Wigginton card. If you are foolish enough to try for last place, as a couple of people usually are, do your best on the tie-breaker, as it will work normally even for the worst of you.
One prize this year is a master set of the Cardinals from this year's Topps throwbacks. There are over 20 cards here, most of them darn stylish looking, some of them from the 1966 team (Orlando Cepeda makes an appearance!), one a rather funny misprint of Lance Lynn's name and Trevor Rosenthal's face, and don't you really want to own this? (You do.)
The other prize is an autographed Carlos Martinez card from 2013. Hidden behind it in the picture below are the trio of cards that make up the last place prize. You will not want them to appear in your mailbox next October.
The contest will remain open until the end of March. I'll close responses at 12:01 AM next Wednesday, and I'll put up a post about our predictions shortly thereafter. You could try to wait until Monday or Tuesday to get more information from spring training to help you in your predictions if you want, but nothing important will be revealed, and you'll likely forget to answer then anyway. Probably best to fill it out now.