Another season of Major League Baseball is upon us.
Despite another not-so-bad winter in south-central Wisconsin, I’m still extremely thankful that baseball is back.
I’ve complained in the past about the whole Sunday “Opening Night” ordeal. It’s “get out of my lawn” stuff, but I still always cherished baseball starting on a Monday afternoon – usually the first Monday of April and usually the first game starting in Cincinnati.
Things don’t stay the same, of course. And I don’t want to turn into Goose Gossage or Johnny Bench, with talk of modern ballplayer’s not respecting the game, so maybe it’s time I just let it go already.
The start of a season means I can roll out my pre-season predictions for the division. Last season I did alright, picking the Cards with a narrow division win over the Pirates, the Cubs a distant 3rd (roughly 10 games back) and then the Reds narrowly beating out the Brewers for 4th place.
Well, the Cubs ended up quite a lot better than I thought they’d be, but I still had them pegged for 3rd correctly. Cincinnati, however, was even worse than I thought they’d be and finished 4 games behind Milwaukee for last place in the division.
This season, I don’t really see much difference.
My eyes tells me that the Cardinals could well finish below .500, and yet every time I think that they look meh on paper, they end up winning the division anyhow. So I’m sticking with them as my divisional pick despite all signs to the contrary.
I worry a bit about how much magic the Pirates can continue to milk out of their pitchers and see them possibly falling behind the much-heralded Cubs this season.
And, although the Brewers have a better plan going forward than the Reds do, I’ll take the Reds to have a better team in 2016, their pitching staff reaping the benefits of learning on the job last season.
Enjoy 2016, everybody!
St. Louis (0-0) @ Pittsburgh (0-0) – The owner’s of the top two records in Major League Baseball last season kick off the season at roughly 12 noon Central, today. Adam Wainwright, coming off of an injury-plagued 2015 season, takes the bump for the Redbirds. For the Bucs, it’s left-handed veteran Francisco Liriano. I’ll be curious to see how St. Louis responds to their shortstop situation – Jhonny Peralta is out for a few months to start the season and emergency free agent signee Ruben Tejada got hurt this past week. Also curious to see if the young Bucs continue to play strong while St. Louis’ aging roster starts to fall backwards.