Throw open the sashes of your windows and let the spring air in, grab yourself some tin foil wrapped hotdogs, and sit back and enjoy; baseball’s hibernation is officially over.
Both residents of the NL East enter 2010 with high hopes of bettering their 2009 campaigns, as well as taking down the current three-time NL East Champions: the Philadelphia Phillies.
For the Atlanta Braves, the 2010 season will be the swan song of manager Bobby Cox, as he is set to retire after this year, so putting up one last fight for the division—and possibly another World Series Win—will be emphasized just a bit more than usual.
Today’s game will feature the flashy rookie sensation Tommy Hanson on the mound. Hanson stormed onto 2009 and finished with a very impressive 11-4 record and 2.89 ERA in 21 starts.
Aside from Hanson, the Braves will get to test drive their new outfielder Melky Cabrera, and hopefully get a good strong look at their other acquisitions: Takashi Saito and Billy Wagner.
For the New York Mets, the 2010 season affords the club, and their fans, another chance at redemption, an opportunity to show that this team can contend for the division and the big show, and the prospect of taking that little monkey with the letter “L” tattooed on its head, off their backs and dropping him off in the jungle somewhere.
The Mets will feature ex-relief pitcher Nelson Figueroa, and for those of you dealing with long term memory problems, Figueroa’s last game was a complete game shutout to the Houston Astros in October of ’09.
Like the Braves, the Mets will get to test drive their own acquisition Jason Bay, but any hopes of getting a real-time glance at Kelvim Escobar will have to wait as he deals with a shoulder injury—no big surprise there.
This will, however, give the Mets more time to look at the rest of their pen; particularly Ryota Igarashi.
Igarashi is highly touted as a dominate pitcher out of Japan, and it is this clout that caused the Mets to wrangle him in; despite some folks having their doubts.
His lifetime numbers look like this:
3.31 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 404 H, 207 R, 56 HR, 213 BB, 579 SO, and a K/9 rate of 9.9 in nine seasons. Not too shabby for a new guy.
New faces, new beginnings, new possibilities; yup, it’s baseball season again, and this is quite an impressive stage to get things kicked off.
Two teams that share a common enemy. Two teams that boast heavy improvements to their squads which they are ready to showcase, and this is just spring training.
For the majority of us, the television will get some extra attention today because before all the hype starts, before all the projections begin to unfold, before the big race commences, there is the very first game of baseball; an event that never loses its luster and always remains timeless, no matter how old the game becomes.