Here we go… Easter lunch is out of the way, so now the real holiday can begin – no disrespect to Jesus of course. Two of Major League Baseball’s top franchises will take the diamond tonight and kick of the 2010 season. Normally I’d be as interested in a Yankees-Red Sox affair as I would in a Spurs-Jazz snoozefest, but tonight, I’m so starved for baseball I can’t wait to see these guys in action. Aside from the whole Opening Night thing, there’s plenty of other storylines to keep me glued to the tube. Sure, it’s a rivalry game featuring the defending champions blah blah blah, but here is what has got me excited…
CC Sabathia vs. Josh Beckett – Forget great Opening Day matchups, this is about as good a matchup as you’ll see on any given day in baseball. Sabathia is a Bay Area product, so he’s got plenty of supporters at Doin Work. He’s also one of the preseason favorites for the AL Cy Young Award. While Beckett isn’t as high on the Cy Young list, he’s still one of the best pitchers in the game. He may not have the hardware that most pitchers covet, but I’m sure he wouldn’t trade his two World Series rings or his World Series MVP for anything. One might anticipate a pitcher’s duel tonight, but there’s so much firepower on the offensive side for both teams that there are sure to be some runs put on the board as well.
New Additions – Each team picked up one guy I’m looking forward to seeing make their debut tonight. The Yankees replaced Johnny Damon in center field with former Tiger, Curtis Granderson. Granderson is quietly emerging as an elite player in this league, and the Yankees coveting him only further cements that. If he can get his average back up closer to .300 this year, he’ll surely build on his first all-star berth last year with many more to come, since there’ll be no shortage of exposure playing the Big Apple. The Red Sox, on the other hand, tested my hatred of them by signing the legendary Marco Scutaro. Even if Scutaro spurned the A’s to sign with Boston, he can do absolutely nothing to ever stop me from being a fan.
John Lackey in a Boston Uniform – You know how there are certain things that make you cringe or gag at the sight of it? I’m willing to bet that John Lackey donning a Red Sox jersey is going to be one of those. As much as I dislike the Red Sox, there’s not really any players on the team that I hate, aside from Papelbon of course. I think Lackey is going to be that guy, and I look forward to it. I’m actually going to keep a trash can by the couch to start the game in case the first camera shot of Lackey makes me throw up. It could happen.
First Fantasy AB of the Year – I try to keep my fantasy nerdom to a minimum here on the blog, but I can’t lie…. When Granderson steps into the box to face Beckett in the first pitch of the season, my squad, Five Tool Academy, is going to have a monopoly on fantasy stats for the duration of the at-bat. Beckett returns to my team by way of the draft (7th rd) after helping HolyShirtsandPants secure third place in last year’s league. Granderson is a new addition after being selected in the 5th round as part of my five tool plan, complementing other power/speed combo players Matt Kemp, BJ Upton, and Adam Jones. The fantasy season won’t be won with one at bat, but it starts here.