Well, Mceezy did his tribute to the excitement of the upcoming baseball season, and I felt it was only fitting that I should write about sine if the storylines that will intrigue me during the 2010 season. Now that the teams have rounded third base in spring training, they are heading back home to the “real parks” for the last few preseason games. There’s a lot to look forward to that isn’t dealing with the Yankees and Red Sox (If you’re a hater like me), so here are ten things I want to watch develop.
Tim Lincecum – Can he win back to back to back Cy Young awards? If he stays healthy, I don’t see why not. He’d probably also solidify himself as one of the most dominating pitchers of all time (or at least this era) joining Gregg Maddux and Randy Johnson as the only other two pitchers to accomplish that feat. Thankfully Cy Young voters have gone away from counting wins as one of the biggest factors in handing the award out. It makes it much more likely, since he doesn’t get much help from the unfriendly Giants offense. The problem this time around is he will have to contend with Doc Halladay!
Wild Wild West – Obviously I’ll have a lot of my time and interest vested in what’s happening in the AL West, and like I said a little while back, I think it’s the most balanced division in baseball. The Mariners made the most noise bringing in quality players all over the field. Can their two horses (Felix and Cliff) eat up 450 innings? Not if Lee is hurt for extended periods of time. The rest of the rotation is still pretty suspect, but the top two are second to none. The Rangers look like they could be contenders in the West too if they can avoid the injury bug that plagued them a lot at the end of last season. They need to get Hamilton back on track if they are going to hang in the West. Did their pitching get better from solely having Nolan Ryan roaming around? Maybe a little, but they will need to swing their way to a division crown like they always do. I like their rotation better than years past, but who knows if it will stay healthy. I do like how Nolan predicted they’d win the west with a 92 win season. Everyone is predicting a fall off from the Angels, and I hope they are right. I’d talk about the A’s, but I’ll save it, because we will be talking about them all season!
Albert Pujols – No need to talk about his stats or his MVP awards, because unless you’ve been stuck on the moon or don’t watch baseball, you’d know he’s the best there is right now. He had another elbow surgery this offseason, but I don’t see any reason for him to start slowing down at 30 years old. The main reason I like watching the guy play is because he’s the one big hope we have left in the steroid era. After seeing numerous stars go down for using PED’s, he has said he fears god too much to do them. Will we continue to embrace his dominance or will we be cringing when he fails? Only time will tell, I want to believe he’s clean, I really do.
Vin Scully – He’s in his 61st year of broadcasting for the Dodgers, and said last year that 2010 would be his last season during the summer last year. Living in Southern California, I’ve grown to appreciate how good he is at being a one man broadcast. He tells a story about every guy that comes to the plate even if it’s not for his beloved Dodgers, which is refreshing after having to listen to the Angels one sided announcers. He doesn’t travel with the team past Colorado anymore, but you can find him on the radio if you really want to for road games. The 82 year old hasn’t ruled out that he won’t be back, but this year I think I will listen in a little closer when I catch a Dodger game on TV in case this is his farewell tour.
Bobby Cox – Speaking of old guys, Cox said he would retire after this season capping of a Hall of Fame coaching career. I’m actually pulling for the Braves to do well this year, so they can send him off the “right” way, with a playoff appearance. I don’t think the Braves are that solid, but with a 2,413 – 1,930 lifetime record it’s impossible to not give him the benefit of the doubt. Plus they can’t have as many injuries as last year right, and then there’s the excitement of the next guy on this list…
Jason Heyward – I can’t remember a hitter with as much hype as Heyward since Pujols broke onto the scene. I think the number for him this year is 20. He’s only 20 years old, and has a VERY realalistic shot at the 20/20 club. If he breaks into the 20/20 club he’d only be the third 20/20 guy 20 years of age or younger to do so, joining Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez on that list, which is an exciting list to start your career on.
Target Field in Minnesota – The place looks amazing from the pictures I’ve seen online. Any new park better be f**ing awesome for the money that is spent on them. I’m just wondering why in the world would they didn’t just install a retractable roof. Isn’t that standard issue these days for new stadiums for the double 0 decade in a bad weather city? Minnesota isn’t exactly a warm place for much of April, May, September, and possibly October (if they make the playoffs). I wonder how many games will get cancelled due to weather compared to years past when they had the dome!?!
The California Courtrooms – Speaking of new stadiums, the A’s need one badly, and the Giants aren’t going to give up the San Jose rights anytime soon, even though it sounds like the A’s and the MLB could put it up to a vote within the owners. I don’t think the Giants want it to happen, but it would make sense for the league owners to push it through. Why wouldn’t they want a team to thrive and generate more money for all of them? A third California team finds itself in a legal battle as well. The Dodgers are in the midst of an ugly divorce, and it could possibly effect the team being able to make coherent moves as the season goes along. If they end up with a new owner, their window of opportunity could close quickly, especially without a fifth starter in a wide open NL West.
Arlondis Chapman – I guess some might think it’s weird that I have this infatuation with the lefty Cuban flame thrower just because he has the same last name as me. Maybe deep down I feel like I’m a distant relative of his however unlikely that would be. Anyways there’s something about how easily he hits the century mark on his fastball. It looks that effortless, and he’s got more than a fastball. His breaking pitches were fooling guys too. Let’s just hope his birth certificate wasn’t manufactured and he’s not actually 35!
Fantasy Baseball – I think baseball is my favorite type of fantasy league out there. It’s not because I seem to do better as far as results. It’s more that the baseball season is much more forgiving than the other fantasy sports. There are guys you can pick up during the year that will give you solid production, and help you along the way to your championship. Most of the time half your roster will change by the end of the year! I’m also a huge stat nerd or some might just call me a typical Asian. Baseball is full of numbers to analyze, which just gets me that much more into it…