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Questions surround the Sox, but don’t rule them out

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

It’s hard to get baseball fever with such a chill in the air — but the season is here, so it’s time for my annual baseball forecast.

If anything like my 2011 NCAA bracket and  Oscar pool, I apologize in advance.

The Philadelphia Phillies are the popular pick with most Vegas oddsmakers putting the Phillies at 3-1 to win the World Series. The over/under on total number of Philadelphia wins is 97, meaning if you take the “over,” they have to win 98 games.

Take the under.

If the impressive starting staff stays healthy, the Phillies will be a serious contender — but they’re an aging team and their lineup isn’t all that deep. For a better deal, take the defending champion Giants at 12/1.

In the AL, the Red Sox are favored, followed by the overrated Yankees.

As for the hometown teams, the Cubs are 35/1 to win it all — sounds about right — while the Sox are 20/1.

That’s a bargain.

True, the Sox are another aging team, and there are questions about Jake Peavy’s health and Ozzie Guillen’s sanity. But the starting staff is solid, the bullpen is strong and they could crack about 225 home runs.

Look for the Sox to win 94 games, capture the Central Division, upset the Red Sox in the ALCS and defeat the Giants 4 games to 2 in the World Series.

Winner winner?

When Charlie Sheen’s people announced the crazy-ass actor would be doing a live tour, I thought: doing what? Sheen chain-smoking, attacking his enemies, coining catch-phrases and reciting self-penned poetry while some former porn star coos in the background? Who’s paying to see that?

It’s one thing to follow Sheen on Twitter or to watch one of his visual radio shows online. It’s something else to fork over serious money to see the guy performing, given that Sheen isn’t a comedian and can’t sing, and the whole tiger-blood, warlock, “WINNING” shtick is getting tired.

And what about that “Official Meet & Greet Package,” which includes:

One premium, reserved ticket

Exclusive meet & greet with Sheen

Personal photograph with Sheen

Autographed 8X10 photo

Collectible tour poster

Official meet-and-greet laminate

Price? A whopping $750 per ticket.

That’d be a lofty tag if it were a meet-and-greet with Paul McCartney or Lady Gaga or U2 — but I could see a number of fans forking over 750 bucks for that.

But for Charlie Sheen and the goddesses?

The next person I meet who’s willing to spend that kind of money for that kind of experience will be the first person I meet who’s willing to spend that kind of money for that kind of experience.

Sold out. But not really.

Soon after Sheen tix went on sale, we were told a number of shows had “sold out.”

I was stunned. More than 3,000 people had bought tickets to see Sheen at the Chicago Theatre? Was Sheen actually selling out Radio City Music Hall in NYC, Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, the American Airlines Center in Dallas?

But there’s a difference between all the tickets being gobbled up and all the tickets being sold to people who will attend the shows. Turns out a number of brokers bought up tix in bulk on spec, anticipating a bullish market — but that’s not happening.

As of this writing, there are nearly 1,000 tickets to Sheen’s April 3 Chicago show available on StubHub alone. StubHub also has more than 1,600 tickets to the Sheen performance in Boston (the arena has a capacity of 6,000), more than 1,600 tickets available for the show in New York and 1,000 tickets to the Detroit gig.

Maybe the American public is more savvy than we thought.

In the interest of column/radio/website material, I will attend Sunday night’s show in Chicago so you don’t have to.

Looking at the schedule — some 22 shows from April 2 to May 3 — I’m having doubts Sheen will complete the tour, especially if he’s playing to half-filled arenas, fans start walking out halfway through shows and the critics rip him apart.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Sheen aborts the tour after a week or so, citing family concerns or some other perceived emergency at home.

After that, it’ll be a matter of weeks before the public apologies, the admission that maybe rehab really is a good idea, and the planning of the comeback tour, complete with guest appearances on talk shows and attempts to restart the acting career.

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