Opening Day is upon us.
The game tonight is really just a TV opportunity, and while it is a good one, the real fun gets started tomorrow.
This is without a doubt one of my favorite days of the year. I won’t be attending any games, though I will definitely be watching, but there is just something about the start of baseball season that makes me happy.
Part of it has to be the signaling of the start of spring with sunny days, wildflowers, and the impending warm summer, but part of it is my love of baseball.
On Opening Day every team has just as much chance as the next team of winning the World Series.
Obviously there are some teams that are favored more than others. There are other teams that would need an Angels in the Outfield type of miracle to even have a winning season, but for just one day, every team is exciting, and every team has hope.
Being the diehard Texas Rangers’ fan that I am, I am brimming with hope this season. We had our best season in a long time last year, and we improved in the offseason.
While our rotation is vastly different than last year on Opening Day, I think that is a good thing. We needed some fresh faces that can come in and win games.
Scott Feldman is the perfect leader for this rotation, and I think he is going to have even more of a breakout season than he did last year.
We have lots of young and exciting pitchers but we also have a couple of old veterans, read Darren Oliver, that will provide a solid foundation for everyone to build on.
After a roller coaster offensive season in 2009 we seem to be a little more settled, and have a lineup that really fits better than we did at any point last season.
We have a quality leadoff hitter who is anxious to prove himself and has done so throughout the spring.
The consummate professional in the number two spot who will provide a lot of stability that was missing last year.
A guy who can plain and simple crush the ball that is ready to bounce back from an injury riddled season.
A former enemy who used to shred us apart that will now benefit from playing half of his games in Arlington.
A speedster with some pop who will benefit from batting a little lower in the order.
And a group of other players that are ready to find their niche and help this team win.
The Rangers are getting mixed reviews from analysts who will pick them anywhere from first to third, but I really think this team is for real.
A lot of learning went on last year that is going to help the team this season. Our young players gained valuable experience in leading the division for a good part of the year, and what that feels like.
Anyone who has felt success wants to get as much of it as they possibly can.
They saw how the team was able to push through injuries and ineffectiveness and remain competitive almost to the end of the season.
This season they are going to make it all the way to the end.
It is way too early to put any team in the World Series, but I don’t think it is unreasonable to put this team in the playoffs. They showed they could compete last year, and they are only better this year.
In the words of Tom Hanks, “May our bats be mighty and our balls be…plentiful.”
It may take a little help from a higher being, and if so, that’s fine with me, but this team is ready to compete now, and I think they will surprise some teams early.
It is going to be a tough April, but it is only after going through the refiner’s fire that you can say you are an elite team.
I say they win the division with a record of 91-71.
Tomorrow the fun begins: Go Rangers!