Just received this text message from a friend: "its finally here. Best night of the year." That about sums up the way today is. The games finally count and all the prognasticators, writers, and talk show hosts can finally be quiet and we will let the teams decide who the best is on the field.
For the first night since October 29th, the games begin to count tonight. It is very fitting to see the first game of the year being played in the same place the last game was played. 2009 should be a very exciting year as you can make the case for at least half of the league to have a shot at winning the pennant. And after the Rays last year, every team has hope to make a dream run.
There are lots of story lines. From two new ballparks in NY, to the A-Rod saga, to new faces in new places, and finally to the games continued tranistion to younger, athletic players. This is easily seen with teams giving the nods to top prospects such as Jordan Schafer in Atlanta, Colby Rasmus in St Louis , Dexter Fowler in Colorado, and Trevor Cahill in Oakland. Teams are deciding to give the young guns a shot instead of paying money for an older player who wont produce.
The exception to this rule is in New York. Following the opening of 2 billion dollar worth of Stadiums. The two New York teams have decided to go out and add the top free agents. CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Mark Teixera now call the Bronx home while the Mets have tightened up their 2007 and 2008 achilles heals by adding Fransisco Rodriguez and JJ Puts to tighten up the bullpens. We will see if these investments pay off.
AL East Champ: Yankees
AL Central: Indians
AL West: Oakland
AL Wildcard: Red Sox
NL East: Mets
NL Central: Reds
NL West: Dodgers
NL Wildcard: Cubs
Suprise teams: Royals, Rangers, Reds, Giants
As of now everyone is 0-0 and everyone has a chance, well maybe not the Pirates. But everyone, even the Royals have a chance to be good and win their division. Fans are figuring out which breaks they need, who needs to stay healthy or take the next step to help their teams contend.