Baseball is Back
After four long months, the boys of summer are back. In our last episode of baseball, the Chicago Cubs had just completed one of the best comebacks in MLB history.
When the Indians were up 3–1, I admittedly thought the series was over considering Cleveland had home field advantage. But the Cubs were finally able to exercise their demons and get that proverbial monkey off their back and win their first World Series since 1908.
Can the Cubs do it again? History isn’t on their side, so I would say not this season.
The last team to win back-to-back World Series Championships was the New York Yankees and they three-peated (1998–2000). That Yankees team played in four straight World Series as they would lose to the Arizona Diamondbacks in seven games in 2001.
Chicago also will be looking to make the playoffs for the third consecutive season for the first time since 1906–1908. They will certainly be favorites in the NL Central, but the Cubs will have their challengers.
The Washington Nationals, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers all could be World Series contenders. If Bryce Harper can return to his 2015 MVP form, I almost like the Nationals to come out of the National League. My only worry with Washington is Dusty Baker is their manager.
The American League is a little bit more wide open. Most “experts” will pick the Boston Red Sox to win the pennant, but something tells me that their questionable bullpen will prevent them from getting to the promise land.
Now that Cleveland has added Edwin Encarnacion, they’re in my mind the favorites. The Indians will also get back Carlos Carrasco, Danny Salazar and Yan Gomes, who all missed a significant number of time last season.
The AL West should be the most exciting division in baseball in 2017. The Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers could all make the playoffs. On paper, Houston is the most talented out of the bunch, so I would give them a slight edge.
This season, baseball will eliminate intentional walks as a way to speed up the game. First off, who says baseball games need to be shorter, non-baseball fans?
No one complains that college football and NFL games last 3 1/2 hours every Sunday because football is universally loved. I find that only non-baseball or casual fans are the ones complaining about the length of games.
I’m not a fan of the rule change because there’s always a chance for a wild pitch by the pitcher in intentional walk situations. If MLB suits really cared about speeding the game up, they would limit a pitchers reliefs pitches and cut back on commercial breaks.
Not everyone is going to be a fan of baseball and that’s fine. I just hope commissioner Rob Manfred doesn’t all of a sudden begin to make sudden changes to baseball just to please the casual sports fan because purist love the game the way it is.
As spring training moves on, I will make more predictions and write more about the game we love so much. Today, I’m just happy I will be watching people eat cracker jacks and drink two dollar beers in the stands again.