MLB 2009 Starts with Just As Many Questions As 2008, and Similar Circumstances

Steve ParkhurstContributor IFebruary 6, 2009

So, it’s almost been a year since my last post, but with spring training starting in one week for me, because the Dodgers start in one week, I figure it’s time for an update.  

As I begin my dreams of the 2009 season ending with the last bat of Game Seven in the World Series, it’s time to come back and look at the 2009 season, and see the parallels with the 2008 season and specifically the article I wrote a year ago.

We go into spring training 2009 with some of the same circumstances we had in 2008.  Barry Bonds’ positive urine samples from 2003 are the news now and not Roger Clemens’ comments about Andy Pettitte “misremembering” what he saw when Roger did or did not get injected with steroids. 

Mark McGwire’s brother is writing a book accusing his brother of doping up. Joe Torre has also written a book about his years with the Yankees, more proof that the Yankees are a good story, and a good sell, any time of year.

Before I or anyone else can really predict the outcome of the 2009 season, we still have to wait and see where Manny Ramirez ends up.  Manny is a game changer and will change any division race, and therefore change any playoff brackets.

In 2008 I wondered if Curt Schilling would pitch at all, now I wonder if he’ll pitch in 2009, he says he probably can toward the end of the season. Miguel Tejada had a bad season on a team that was never in contention, and somehow the Astros managed to do nothing this off season.

Johan Santana did well, but he wasn’t better in a weaker NL. Albert Pujols’ “injury” was all hype, probably created by the Cubs beat writers. Finally, Dontrelle Willis did not rebound, unless you call being traded from the Marlins to Detroit before being sent to AA ball in Florida, a rebound.

The Tampa Bay Rays...Who would have guessed that? Enough said.

The last year for Yankee Stadium in 2008 leads to a first year in, well, Yankee Stadium in 2009.

So now the questions for 2009.  Will Tex and Sabathia be enough to get the Yankees to the promised land?  What will a Major League Baseball season look like without Greg Maddux taking the mound for the first time since 1986?  Jeff Kent is also gone, will he be a HOF inductee in 2014? 

Will the Brewers come back to earth with Sabathia gone and Ben Sheets not yet in the fold for 2009?  Will Evan Longoria have a sophomore slump and take the Rays down with him?  Will the Cubs maintain their consistency for 101 straight years? Will the Phillies repeat as World Champoins?

2009 will bring us more chances to watch A-Rod get closer to 600 and move toward immortality, even though the PR around him, including Joe Torre’s book, will give people plenty of reasons not to like him.

You may not like A-Rod, but you’re watching history in the making by a guy who has seemingly avoided the aid of performance enhancers.

There will be those who will prefer the 14-12 slugfest to a 1-0 pitchers’ duel. There will be those who will prefer seeing a triple play to a grand slam. There will be those who will prefer the night game at Shea to the day game at Wrigley. But the game is always the same and the game will always win.

One thing that always hold true for me and I said this last year, but I have to repeat it: While I wish I could catch a game at Ebbets Field with a stogie in one hand and a Roger Kahn article and box score in the other, I will “settle” for Dodger Stadium, Minute Maid Park, and the Ballpark at Arlington and the words of Bill Plaschke, Buster Olney, and Rick Morrissey.

I live in Texas.  To my left and my right, in Florida and Arizona, I can hear the knock of the bats hitting the white baseballs, I can hear those baseballs popping in gloves and I can see one manager after another walking around a field with a batting practice bat.  Men are about to live the dreams of boys.

While I’m dreaming with everyone else, I’ll see you at the ballpark in 2009.