Guest Author - Sue Walsh
If you’re a baseball fan, today is better than Christmas morning, birthdays, and the last day of school combined. It’s Opening Day, the start of the long major league baseball season. Opening Day is one the most popular days to skip work and school, and is so popular, there is growing movement to make it a national holiday. It truly is America’s pastime.
Opening Day 2014 brings 13 games across the country, but if you’re a fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers or Arizona Diamondbacks, your season began several days early as the two teams met in Australia for a special international event. The MLB has joined the NFL in having teams start the season in other countries. Supposedly this helps promote the game, but the chances of the Americanized version of football gaining popularity overseas seems slim. On the other hand, baseball’s popularity is worldwide.
Perhaps reflecting this, the New York Yankees made the signing of the year, nabbing highly touted Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka for $155 million. Major stars took free agency as a chance to play musical teams, with the Yankee’s Robinson Cano heading to Seattle, the Ranger’s A.J. Pierzynski signing with Boston, and the Tiger’s Jhonny Peralta finding a new home in St. Louis among others.
This season will see future hall of famer Derek Jeter play his final season, and his farewell to the game will be just as touching as teammate and fellow legend Mariano Rivera’s was in 2013. The new season also brings new rules designed to crack down on home plate collisions and further discourage the use of PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) and a new expansion of instant replay. The league hopes this season will be free of the drama the Alex Rodriguez scandal filled the 2013 season with. The once popular player is sitting the season out, serving his 162 game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal.
So who will be in pennant race? Experts are saying the Tigers, Nationals, Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Cardinals, Pirates and Giants will all be in the hunt. Of course predictions are just that, and right now, it’s anyone’s game. Come October we’re sure to see some perennial favorites along with a few surprises.
Who are you rooting for? What’s your take on the new rules? Stop by our forum and share your thoughts!