Finally, some baseball!
There has been so much going on in the sports world the past few weeks that I have not really had the chance to properly address the beginning of my favorite seasonÂ â€”Â the annual six-month extravaganza that is Major League Baseball.
Now, I know I have devoted a little space to the beginning of the season, but letâ€™s face it, the start of baseball deserves a lot more than a few lines! Heck, it might just warrant multiple columns, but I think we can get it all taken care of right now.
Like any good baseball fan, I spent almost all of last Monday in front of the television, watching as much action as I possibly could. Opening day is always a special one for me and I suspect it is probably just as special to most fans of Americaâ€™s pastime.
After all, on opening day anything and everything seems possible. For those first few innings, everyoneâ€™s in first place and even the fans of the worst teams can at least dream of the possibility of the post season. Such was the case this year, and while things have changed in the days since, there is still plenty of intrigue around the league for us to focus on over the marathon season.
I guess the first thing we must address is whether the Chicago Cubs can return to the World Series? Last year the Cubbies were everyoneâ€™s team as they claimed their first title since 1908. This year, I am guessing they will lose some fans from their bandwagon, but they still have as much, if not more, talent than anyone in baseball. The likelihood of another solid run seems high. But winning back-to-back World Series is a difficult task.
The question of who might meet them in the Fall Classic is another good one. A lot of people would like to see the Cubs, led by Theo Epstein, face off with the franchise that fired him, the Boston Red Sox, in October. As a Sox fan, I think this is a stretch. While Boston did add Chris Sale, they did not replace David Ortiz. Not that one can replace an icon like Papi, but they didnâ€™t even try and add another impact bat and I think that will catch up with them long before late October.
A far more likely candidate for the best team in the American League also has a Red Sox connection. I am speaking of last yearâ€™s AL Pennant winner, the Cleveland Indians. Obviously their manager was the guy who guided the Red Sox to titles in 2004 and 2007, Terry Francona. With a healthy Carlos Carrasco and the addition of Edwin Encarnacion, Cleveland is better in 2017 than they were the last time we saw them. Their dynamic bullpen and good hitting will be difficult for any other team to overcome this year.
Thereâ€™s a ton left we could get to, but I am quickly running out of space. So, letâ€™s go ahead and get to my annual predictions.
If you follow along, then you probably know these are usually wrong, but who knows? Maybe this is my year! In the American League, I am giving the division titles to Boston, Cleveland and Houston with the wild card going to Texas. I will stick with my pick of Cleveland as the ALâ€™s representative in the Series. In the National League, I am taking Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles as the division winners with the wild card going to the Giants.
I believe the Cubs will falter in the playoffs though, and the Dodgers will wind up facing Cleveland in the World Series. As for the winner? Iâ€™m going with the Tribe. Theirs is now the longest drought, so they might as well get it over with and win it all.