Monday, March 31, 2008

It's the most wonderful time of the year

Spent the better part of the past three days in upstate New York, where it is still snowing by the way.

Got home and found that two fantasy baseball teams had been birthed while I was gone.

Both were top-heavy in closers and had outfields reminiscent of the late 70s Indians with Rick Manning, Johnny Grubb, Ron Pruitt, Jim Norris and Horace Speed.

(Raise your hand if you were a Horace Speed Freak)

Some quick and furious trading netted me Adam Dunn, Nick Markakis and Curtis Granderson, so we're good to go on that front.

All of which is the long way of saying I have been remiss in posting the past couple of days.

So today is Opening Day, in all its glory. Clearly the best day of the year. A day that should be a national holiday.

I mean, would you rather have President's Day off, or Opening Day? It's a no- brainer.

Something else that is a no-brainer - one would think.

The Tribe has to stop playing Chicago on Opening Day. This makes four years in a row that two of the coldest-weather teams have been paired-up to start the season in March, or damn close to March.

Does that make any sense?

Snow will not be a problem today, but apparently thundershowers may be. We'll keep our fingers crossed for luck, and those of you in the seats can keep your legs crossed so the combination of cold weather and cold beer doesn't send you to the men's (or ladies') room every inning or so.

Meanwhile, here in Yankeeland things are no better for the last Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. I'm looking out my glass-walled office on the shores of the Hudson River in Jersey City. Manhattan is just one mile away, across the river - I think. In the past 45 minutes or so, a gray sky has turned into a heavy a fog that has all but obliterated the NYC skyline, not to mention its ground-level view.

Does it really make sense to start the baseball season in March? And if that is a must, can't it open in the warm-weather cities? I know the same point is made every year, but one can hope that eventually someone at MLB will show some common sense and follow up on the idea.

One thing that may - unfortunately - be different next Opening Day is the person who will be taking the mound for the Tribe to start the season.

For the fifth time in his career, CC will get the Opening Day start for the Tribe. That ties him with Bob Lemon for the club record. It's a damn shame he likely won't be around to claim the record for himself next season, and something else that should, but won't, change in baseball.

I'm not big into predictions, especially since every paper and Web site in the country has their own this morning.

But, on the biggest question of the year, I say the Tribe will outlast Detroit's Mauler's Row and win the Central Division. The Tribe has more talent and depth in the starting rotation, more talent and depth (by a longshot) in the pen, more overall depth and more trading-deadline depth.

The Tigers have an impressive lineup but they decimated their minor league organization to get it. Another injury or two, especially on the pitching staff, and the Tigers won't have the pieces to recast the puzzle.

About the only bad news today is that I don't think I'll be able to see the Tribe game on the dish. I have the MLB package but ESPN has purchased a monopoly on Opening Day and, if memory serves, MLB Extra Innings won't get any games today.

My only hope is WGN (if that doesn't get blacked out too in NY). It means listening to Hawk Harrelson, but that really is what the mute button is for.

Baseball fans rejoice!! Opening Day is here!!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree -- no more White Sox-Indians openers! It used to be that MLB would strategize on how to open in domes or in good-weather towns, but that's apparently too difficult to coordinate anymore. Texas at Seattle? The Dodgers hosting the Giants? Houston at San Diego?