As of today, we are just 6 short days away from opening day of the baseball season. I have my St. Louis Cardinals tie ready so I can show my colors as I do every opening day. This season should be another exciting one, as every season favorites flop in May and surprises are in contention down to the very end. I will withhold my predictions for the playoffs as we will be doing another round of "the sports bloggers" where all 3 of us comment and predict together in the near future.
Opening Day, in my opinion, should be a national holiday. In all of the stadiums around the country, the new season is met with pageantry and excitement. For one day, everyone is still in the hunt for the playoffs. It's really the beauty of the new season. Every team will have their ace on the hill to start the game which means there will be pitching duels abounds. That young prospect who forced his way on to the roster will have his first shot "in the show". It's early enough in the year that injuries haven't ravaged a number of teams, yes I realize a number of teams are dealing with injuries due to spring, Cards were there last year. But everyone has hope, heck even the Cubbies could still make the playoffs at this point.
My things I will say I am watching for early this baseball season. First off, who jumps out to a quick start. The season is 162 games so obviously who's in first after the first week isn't a big deal. But people make a big deal about who's in first on May First. While a lot of teams who are in first on May Day don't go on to win their divisions, it is still important to note. A lot of times there is a surprise team that will fade away, but often these early season cinderella's are teams that are young and may very well be in contention in a couple of years. Another thing to watch for is who starts slow. When a big payroll team struggles early in the year and induces a panic. How talented teams and players respond to a slow start often dictates a season. Big name, Big Money free agents get the worst of it when things go bad, how they respond to adversity is huge. Lastly, I will be watching who gets hurt. Every team deals with injuries throughout the season, the question is who has the depth to replace the players they lose. The Cardinals had depth and pitching last year and that saved them, but their lack of depth at short was a real issue. Now not all teams have depth in the same places, so it's worth noting who gets a "crippling injury" early, and how the team responds, be that a trade, free agent, or try to fill from within and the effect that has on the clubhouse.
Thanks for reading,
-T.O. signing out.