Opening Day!

... Take me out to the ball game/Take me out with the crowd/Buy me some peanuts and cracker jack/I don't care if I never get back/Let me root, root, root for the home team/If they don't win it's a shame/For it's one, two, three strikes, you're out/At the old ball game ...

(...singing Baseball Tonight theme music ...)

It's opening day baby.

Tom Glavine is one step closer to win No. 300. Alex Rodriguez has already errored. And Barry Bonds is playing whether you like it or not ...

Ooooooooooooooh, it's going to be an interesting season.

The Royals won. The Brewers won.

The Cubs, White Sox and Tigers did not.

About the Cubs ... I’m finding it hard to get excited about them this year. Last year, going in, I was as optimistic as ever; I thought they were contenders for sure. They looked fantastic the first couple weeks of the season. Then Derrek Lee went down and the whole season went down the crapper …

This year, I feel like I barely know the team. They overhauled so much of the roster. I wasn't happy they let Juan Pierre go. And yet for some odd reason, they kept Kerry Wood. I’m not convinced that Piniella’s the right man. And though I’m glad the Cubs won the Soriano sweepstakes, I think it’s crazy how much money they paid to get him.

... At least they managed to hold on to my boys Zambrano and Ramirez. And if Lee can return to form, well, then we'll be sitting pretty in September.

... And if the Brewers are in the hunt too -- well, that would be flat out glorious. Bill Hall, Rickie Weeks, Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy and the gang are coming of age. And if Ben Sheets and Jeff Suppan can carry the rotation ... yeah, sitting pretty.

So here we go ...

... In the NL West, I'm rooting for the Dodgers. Hands down. And this year I think they can do it. After all, they got Juan Pierre ... In the NL Central, I've got the Cubs and/or the Brewers (no bias there) ... and in the NL East I'd like to see the Phillies or the Braves ...

... AL West, I'll be looking for the Angels ... In the Central, I like all of them, really. But I've got soft spots for the Tigers and the Royals ... And in the East, I'm all about the Red Sox.

But as SI's Tom Verducci says, it's anyone's ball game ...

"The '90s are so over," says Verducci. "The baseball world has changed so much from when the Yankees won four titles in five years that their world-championship-or-bust mentality has become awkwardly outdated ... Revenue sharing has had a profound effect on the competitive balance in the game, but so has the Information Age that we have entered as a society. More and more front offices, which often were stocked with failed players and comfortable lifetime company officers, have turned their operations over to smart business people."
Good baseball reads ...
a AL Preview: The Dice-K show, and a power struggle in the AL Central
a NL Preview: Sunny outlook for Phillies
a Baseball's New Landscape: The 'Sugar Daddy' Era Is Over as Even the Richest Teams Are Making an Effort to Keep a Young Crop of Players
a The Tigers were it last year; who will surprise this year?
a Cubs improved under GM Hendry, but pressure is on
a Verducci: The riddle of Matsuzaka
a Bonds reveals he gets death threats
a What Really Ruined Baseball

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