Spring Arrives


We made the most of a record-breaking snowfall in south-central Wisconsin on Wednesday.

The prior record for most recorded snowfall on April 18th in Madison was 2 inches, which last happened way back in 1940. (And it was 1912 before that…)

So, with 7 total inches of snow on Wednesday, we faced the choice.

Either we could sit inside, curse a lot and bemoan this crazy month of weather we’ve been having.

Or we could look at the long-range forecast, realize this was winter’s death rattle, and embrace it.

We chose the latter.

My daughters played outside for a good 45 minutes, making forts out of snow, having snowball fights… I brought out the sled and pulled them around. It was awesome.

The next day it was in the mid-40s and the driveway and sidewalk were 90% clear of snow, even without any intervention on my part. (I have a stance on days like Wednesday – if there is shoveling to do, but I know the next day’s forecast calls for weather that will melt the snow, I’m just not going to do anything. Mother Nature will do it for me, thank you very much.)

Today it’s in the 50s here. It’s bright and sunny. And I’m reflecting on the cold weather and looking forward to all the amazing things that the Midwest has to offer for the next 8 7 months or so.

This past week saw some stellar early-season match-ups in the 2018 season, at least if you go by team projections.

On Monday I was treated to Jacob deGrom striking out 12 Washington Nationals in 7.1 innings of work… only to end with a New York Mets loss.

The Nats put 6 on the board in the 8th inning while Bryce Harper went 2-for-4 with 3 RBI and a famous broken-bat homer.

Jeurys Familia came on to try and hold down the Nats, only to allow a bases-loaded, tie-breaking, two-run single to Wilmer Difo. He then plunked a batter to re-load the bases and then walked Michael Taylor.

It was a bad day for Mets’ fans, but who would have thought they’d be 12-2 and Washington would be just 7-9 coming into the game?

A fun ball game to take in, with the NL East rivalry as a terrific backdrop to the whole stage.

The next day saw a rare game played for the Chicago Cubs, whose four-game set at home against the St. Louis Cardinals turned, instead, into a two-game series.

On Tuesday, it was the Redbirds coming out ahead, 5-3, with Adam Wainwright striking out the side in the 1st inning en route to 5 innings of 0 earned run pitching, though he also walked four and allowed four hits.

St. Louis left 12 men on base and Chicago 11 in a game that was always threatening to become a slug-fest, but never quite did.

The second game of the series played out on Thursday, with the Cubs earning a series split, winning 8-5 and ending the day at an even 8-8 on the season.

Wednesday was time to drop in on those Boston Red Sox, off to a ridiculous 16-2 start to the season.

Rick Porcello improved to 4-0 with 6 shutout innings of work, striking out 6 against no walks.

The game didn’t quite live up to the hype, with the Los Angeles Angels entering the day at 13-4, but I’m still going to sit out on any hype over that squad until we get another month or so in the books.

Two big series this weekend to peak in on.

There’s the battle of 2 of the 3 under-performing National League powerhouses, with the Washington Nationals (9-10, 4th place, 4.5 GB NL East) visiting the Los Angeles Dodgers (8-9, 3rd place, 4.5 GB NL West).

Somebody has got to win those games, and I’ll be interested in seeing that series play out.

In the American League, a great early-season AL East series between the Toronto Blue Jays (12-6, 2nd place, 4 GB) and the New York Yankees (9-8, 3rd place, 6.5 GB), though I’m hopeful David Cone isn’t part of the broadcasting crew.

Talk about pitching by all means, David. You know that.

But refrain from statements about analytics, which you clearly know nothing about. Don’t put words in sabermetrician’s mouths, for God’s sake… You know nothing about Bayesian statistics, I’m quite sure.

<End rant.>

I’ve been spending the month focused on those teams that entered the season with high hopes – Boston, New York (A), Cleveland, Houston, Washington, Chicago (N) and Los Angeles (N).

Games watched thus far by team:

  • Arizona – 1
  • Boston – 4
  • Chicago (N) – 2
  • Cleveland – 3
  • Los Angeles (A) – 4
  • Los Angeles (N) – 1
  • New York (A) – 5
  • New York (N) – 2
  • St. Louis – 2
  • Toronto – 2
  • Washington – 2

Thus far I’ve somehow managed to avoid seeing any full games with Houston. Will look to correct that in the near future, as they’re sure to have an interesting series somewhere along the way here.

Next month I’ll start to turn towards watching some of those teams that are perhaps more surprising, so maybe I’ll eventually find way towards placed like Pittsburgh or Minnesota.

Bring on the spring!

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