Spring has sprung, and Sunday, April 4th, marks the start of the 2010 Major League Baseball Season!!!
As has become traditional during the past two decades, ESPN will air its 20th seasonal opener when the Yankees travel to “Bean Town” to take on their arch rivals, the Red Sox.
It is now standard operational procedure for ONE GAME to be in the spotlight on the Sunday before the mostly full slate of games begins on Monday; the Sunday match up hosted in prime time by ESPN.
Baseball broadcaster extraordinaire Jon Miller and former member of the “Big Red Machine,” Joe Morgan of the Cincinnati Reds, are the play-by-play and commentary tandem.
As for our locals, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the two teams are fairly questionable as to whether they have the right stuff to win a World Series championship this season.
The Angels lost two thirds of the remaining team that won the 2002 World Championship, with their pitching ace John Lackey going to the Red Sox in the off season and spark plug Chone Figgins moving north to Seattle.
Only reliever Scott Shields remains from the Angel’s sole championship team 7 1/2 years ago.
The Yankee’s Hideki Matsui may prove to be a very strong addition to the Angels. Hideki is coming off of a monster World Series performance. With his suspect knees, he’ll probably spend most of his time as a designated hitter.
The 2010 Angel’s pitching rotation still looks strong, even without their #1 starter Lackey. Jared Weaver appears to have been moved to the #1 slot.
They have a potent offense, and if some of the younger guys can step up even more, they have a chance to not only win their division, but move ahead to a second World Series appearance.
It also doesn’t hurt to have Mike Scoscia making all the right moves from the dugout. Mike has proven to be one of the top managers in all of baseball.
The Dodgers, on the other hand, may have their work cut out for them.
Though the team is in the extremely capable hands of manager Joe Torre, they didn’t pick up any major free agents over the winter, the pitching rotation has been called a bit “suspect” by major league pundits, and the “sideshow” which is the Frank and Jamie McCourt divorce battle, can’t help the player’s concentration, though team spokespersons say it’s not a factor.
Add to that the disturbing and diminishing “pop power” of 20 million dollar man Manny Ramirez (who, hopefully, can catch up to his level of play before his 50 game suspension last season), the uncertainty of the youngsters who make the nucleus of the team now being able to elevate their play with an added season under their belts, and the worrisome ineffectiveness of starting pitcher Chad Billingsley, and a first-place finish in the N.L. West again is anything but a given.
Baseball, over a very long season, can surprise, and we hope both of our teams can get us pennants in both of the major’s western divisions and both teams appear in the 2010 World Series!!
As the little kid in the movie “Angels In The Outfield” kept saying, “It could happen!!”
The Angel’s season opener is at 7:05 Monday evening against the Minnesota Twins.
The Dodgers open Monday on the road, taking on the Pittsburgh Pirates at 10:35am pacific time.
Now, let’s PLAY BALL!!!!!!