Thursday marks the start of the 2011 Major League Baseball season, and needless to say, it's about time.
No more meaningless Spring Training games, no more roster predictions, and no more waiting, the season is upon us.
The 6-4-3 double play, the walk-off home run, the pitch outs, the shots to the gap, down the line, the wicked 12-6 curve, the two seam fastball, the rookies, the veterans, the disabled list, interleague play, the J-Hey kid, Dice-K, CC, the late season and annual Colorado Rockies run, the M&M boys (Morneau and Mauer), Jeter going for 3,000 hits, Giants closer Brian Wilson and his beard, saying with enthusiasm YOOK whenever Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis comes up to hit, never seeming to be amazed at what Albert Pujols does and finally, knowing that Marino Rivera is about to enter the game with your team down in the Top of the 9th.
Baseball is back, and it's about time.
The 2010 wasn't good, it was great. Jose Bautista, a career journeyman who found a home in Toronto and never hit more than 16 home runs in a season, wowed the baseball world last season, blasting 54 and outdoing second place Albert Pujols by 12.
In his last hurrah, Braves skipper Bobby Cox led the Atlanta Braves to one final playoff run with his newest superstar Jason Heyward, only to fall the eventual World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.
Josh Hamilton who in 2009 only played in 89 games, returned in 2010 with a vengeance that saw him capture a batting title and American League MVP along the way to leading the Texas Rangers to their first ever appearance in the World Series.
Last season, there were not one, or two, but six no-hitters and three perfect games, one of each by Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay.
Writers were able to look beyond wins and losses and rightfully awarded Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez and his 2.27 ERA the AL Cy Young award.
The San Diego Padres with only one real super star, came out of nowhere to spend 148 days in first place, finally falling on the final day of the season to the eventual World Series champions, San Francisco Giants.
Cincinati Reds first baseman Joey Votto ended Albert Pujols shot at a three-peat for the NL MVP, and a rookie catcher named Buster took the league by storm en route to a World Series ring.
Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg drew the type of crowds and national coverage not seen since the days of "Fernando Mania" in the early 1980s or "The Bird", Mark Fidrych of the mid 70's.
And for the first time in 13-years, the National League defeated the American League in the annual All-Star game.
Yes, 2010 was a great season, and here's to 2011, may it be just as fun filled, historical and exciting as 2010 was.
With that, here is a quick rundown and prediction of how the 2011 season will play out.
AL East: Boston Red Sox
AL Central: Minnesota Twins
AL West: Los Angeles Angels
Wild Card: New York Yankees
NL East: Philadelphia Phillies
NL Central: St. Louis Cardinals
NL West: Colorado Rockies
Wild Card: Atlanta Braves
World Series: Boston Red Sox over the Philadelphia Phillies
AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
NL MVP: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals
AL Cy Young: Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox
NL Cy Young: Josh Johnson, Florida Marlins (will be the Felix Hernandez of the 2010 season)
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