Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Spring (Training) Is In The Air

Ahh…Spring Training began today with three of the most magical words in sports – Pitchers and Catchers!  Although football has captured America’s attention over the past several decades and baseball has seen a decline in interest, the beginning anew that signifies spring baseball is still as potent to the soul as ever.

The 2013 season promises many interesting storylines including a resurgence in Canada, dominance in Los Angeles, and a battle for NL East supremacy.

Thanks to another ridiculous fire sale by the classless Miami Marlins, the Blue Jays from Toronto could make an unprecedented jump from an also-ran to title contender in  the loaded American League East. The Blue Jays, already an up and coming team, added frontline pitchers Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson from the Marlins and 2012 NL Cy Young winner RA Dickey, from the Mets – all in trades. Besides bolstering the pitching staff with pitchers who’ve accumulated nearly 300 career wins among them, the Jays signed steroid-cheat Melky Cabrera for the outfield, and added infielders Jose Reyes – one of the game’s most dynamic players- and Maicer Izturis.

Out west, both Los Angeles-area teams are looking to reach the World Series after adding firepower toward the end of last season and during the offseason. In DodgerLand, Coach Don Mattingly must be giddy after adding former AL Cy Young winner Zack Greinke to an already loaded pitching staff that includes former Red Sox ace Josh Beckett, back after an injury last season, and Clayton Kershaw – maybe the league’s best pitcher.

The offense features Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, also from Boston and Hanley Ramirez, courtesy of the generous Marlins. Crawford joins Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp to form baseball’s top outfield.

Down in Anaheim, the Angels signed megastar Josh Hamilton away from rival Texas, adding him to an already potent lineup that includes Albert Pujols and 2012 AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout.

Back east, The Atlanta Braves reconfigured their outfield by signing the Upton brothers – BJ and Justin – and not resigning Michael Bourn. The Uptons form a dangerous outfield with rising star Jason Heyward. The Braves hope these moves will allow them to surpass the Washington Nationals in the NL East. The Nationals will look for super pitcher Stephen Strasburg to be back in dominant form after babying him and his surgically repaired elbow last season.

These are just some of the on-field stories we’ll be following in 2013. Hopefully, off-field news won’t overshadow what could be an amazing season.

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