Opening Day is here!
There are several questions ahead of the MLB season. Digital journalists/wannabe baseball insiders Mark Bergin, Eric Heubusch and Lara Saavedra try to answer some of them.
What’s your tweet-length prediction for the 2018 season?
Mark Bergin: Bartolo Colon -- at the age of 44 -- becomes an internet sensation AGAIN with some sort of new GIF that may or not have to do with baseball.
You know the season is getting close when Bartolo Colon is throwing cheese! 😯💯❤ pic.twitter.com/FoCqNKT9m1— MLB Memes (@MLBMeme) March 19, 2018
Eric Heubusch: The National League will be the NBA’s Western Conference of the league: all the best teams, with the NL West’s San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers leading the way. The World Series winner will be in the National League, while one or two American League formidable opponents -- the New York Yankees or Houston Astros -- will compete to ultimately lose the title.
I've surpassed my 280-character limit.
What’s your biggest takeaway from the offseason?
Bergin: Several big-name players didn’t fetch the value they thought they might. I’m looking at you Jake Arrieta!
Another example is Jose Bautista, who still remains unsigned. While the 37-year-old had a disappointing 2017 season, he still has a flair for the theatrics. I need more bat flips in my life.
I’m excited to see the AL East race between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. Naturally, there will be the comparison between Boston’s J.D. Martinez and New York’s Giancarlo Stanton. The Red Sox sought to acquire the NL MVP before the Yankees traded for him. The Red Sox wound up with Martinez.
Also, Tim Tebow and Russell Wilson appear to be nowhere close to playing in a regular season MLB game. Earlier this year, some sportsbooks were taking bets on which player would appear in the big leagues first. I’m still holding my breath!
Heubusch: The San Francisco Giants are serious about winning. While they finally lost on an even year in 2016, they’ve made moves to set themselves up for a championship season in 2018.
In the offseason, San Francisco traded for outfielder Andrew McCutchen from the Pittsburgh Pirates and third baseman Evan Longoria from the Rays. When you have to face Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw as often as the Giants, you can never go wrong upgrading your lineup.
Saavedra: At least for the Rays, this offseason felt like the Baptism scene from "The Godfather" -- one-by-one, everyone gets whacked: Longoria, then outfielder Stephen Souza, Jr., outfielder Corey Dickerson and pitcher Alex Cobb. By March, I had no clue who was left on the Rays' roster.
Which team is the favorite to win the World Series?
Bergin: It’s hard to bet against the Houston Astros, but the last time a team won back-to-back World Series titles was when the New York Yankees won three in a row from 1998-2000.
Anything I write will look dumb in a few months.
Heubusch: I think it will be one of the NL West powerhouses, the San Francisco Giants or Los Angeles Dodgers.
Saavedra: Even though it is unlikely the Astros will win the World Series this year, how could you not root for Houston after what the city has gone through within the last year? And how could you not love José Altuve?
Which team is the worst in the league?
Bergin: I’ll go with the Miami Marlins. The team’s firesale this offseason was historic.
Heubusch: The Tampa Bay Rays. Each game will be like watching the Philadelphia Phillies play the University of Tampa Division II baseball squad in their yearly, pre-spring meeting. (Hint, the Rays are the Division II squad)
Saavedra: The Chicago White Sox -- 28 road wins (last year) won’t get the job done. In the last five seasons, they've finished last in the AL Central once and finished fourth place four times. Plus, the same dude (Jerry Reinsdorf) who owns the White Sox also owns the Chicago Bulls. Enough said.
What was the best moment from Spring Training?
Bergin: Tebow’s lone hit for the Mets. He went 1-for-18 in seven games for the Mets. He’ll start the season at the organization’s Class AA affiliate.
The outrage from fans is hilarious.
Saavedra: Reading through UMBC Athletics' Twitter feed.