You couldn’t tell up here in North Jersey but baseball’s spring training is under way down in Florida and Arizona. Baseball is America’s pastime. Kids dream of playing in the big leagues, hell I still dream of playing in the big leagues and rest assured there is and never was any chance of that happening. In the dead of winter things are cold, soaked, and dark. Nothing is very exciting it seems. There are plenty of sports to be had including this years Olympics and college basketball. Oh yeah that’s right there is that junk league called the NBA as well. However, it just never feels like Spring until the players report to their spring training homes. That’s when you know this horrible winter is about to come to and end and finally baseball is back.
This year features my New York Yankees as defending world champions. They have a lot to prove this year as well. Their two biggest stars in Derek Jeter and Mo Rivera are both going to be free agents after this season. Granted, most likely they will re-sign but for how long and how much will be determined by how they play this season.
There are also some new faces in pinstripes this years. Curtis Granderson, Javier Vasquez, Randy Winn, and Marcus Thames, and Chan Ho Park are all new to the team. The Champs will be without Melky Cabrera and Johnny Damon from last years championship squad. The Yankees still have the best team on paper and it will be up to skipper Joe Girardi to bring it all together for another World Series win. No pressure for Joe though, who is also in the last year of his deal.
The rest of the league has some very interesting stories as well.
Mark McGwire, fresh off of his steroid admission (wow shocker) is the new hitting coach for a very talented Cardinals team that features a one two punch in Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday. Can McGwire help an already talented lineup reach it’s full potential? I think he has a wealth of knowledge to share with the team. Sure, he cheated. He also has learned a ton over the years on how to hit. He helped out Holliday before he was with the Cards and it is only going to carry over for the rest of the guys this year. It’s good for baseball for McGwire to be back in the game.
There are some high profile rookie pitchers that for the first time in a long time could make an impact on their big league clubs this season. Stephen Strasburg, the first overall pick of last years draft could be ready by June of this year. That’s just sick. The kid is 19 years old and ready to pitch in the big leagues already. I can’t wait to watch him pitch.
The Cincinnati Reds acquired Cuban defector Aroldis Chapman. He has never pitched in the big leagues but he was outstanding in the last baseball classic. The Reds are betting on this kids success. They signed him to a 30.25 million dollar deal. A little crazy for a team that has a total payroll of 70 million but hey what do I know right.
Johnny Damon is the new example of what happens when a player listens to an idiot agent. He wanted to be a Yankee. The Yankees wanted him back at two years 20 million dollars. His agent Scott Boras told him he could get him a 4 year 40 million dollar deal. Of course that was a joke and he is now on the Tigers for 1 year 8 million. Pretty costly mistake if you ask me.
The last thing that interests me is how the blockbuster Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay trade is going to work out in the end. I felt right from the go that the Phillies are actually a worse team now that Lee is gone and Halladay is in. I also feel like the Seattle Mariners will win the AL West with Cliff Lee and Chone Figgins on the team now.
Only time will tell but the season is upon us and winter is almost gone! Thank god because I can’t wait to get to the ball park this year.