by Mack Williams
11 April 2016
Okay, I know this can’t technically be a preview since the season has begun, but here are 7 things to watch during this baseball season:
I. Big Papi/Red Sox
During the last few years we have witnessed the impending-retirement seasons of some of the all-time greats in the world of sports, from Mariano Rivera in 2013, to Derek Jeter in 2014, to Kobe Bryant, whose season ends this week. Each of these guys won 5 championships and will be a first-ballot Hall-Of-Famer, and was showered with gifts as they went around their league for the final time, but each also walks off without a playoff appearance in his final year.
Will it be any different this season which will be the last go round for David Ortiz? Can Big Papi carry the Boston Red Sox to one more title?
Can the traditional rivals of the Red Sox, the New York Yankees, get enough games to the Betances/Miller/Chapman back end of their bullpen – possibly one of the best ever – with a lead through 6 innings? If so, sky’s the limit.
The San Francisco Giants won the World Series in 2010, 2012, and 2014. Can they continue their even year streak? Certainly not inconceivable with the incredible Madison Bumgarner.
It was said that one day during the ’60s two Los Angeles Dodgers fans were speaking about that day’s game, and one told the other that the Dodger pitcher had pitched a no-hitter against their opponents. His response was, “But did they win?” Will the New York Mets score enough to support their excellent young (plus Bartolo Colon) pitching staff?
In contrast, the Chicago Cubs are full of excellent young position players, among them being Jason Heyward, who bolted from the rival St. Louis Cardinals. Will this be the year that ends the drought at Wrigley Field?
VI. Astros or Started From The Bottom
This Sports Illustrated cover from 2013 predicted greatness for the-then lowly Houston Astros in 2017, and they made the playoffs two years ahead of that. Sixers fans, there is hope.
VII. Bomani Jones
I’m not sure whether all of the people that slammed ESPN’s Bomani Jones for wearing the “Caucasians” shirt – in a style mocking the Cleveland Indians – quite realize that their discomfort over seeing that proves his point. Why would you be upset about seeing Caucasians on a shirt, but see nothing wrong with a team being named the Indians?
Hopefully a name change will happen soon, both for them as well as the Washington NFL franchise.