Friday, March 29, 2013

Opening Day of Baseball Brings Back America’s Pastime

Spring training is wrapping up and the strong signs of warm weather mean the wonderful sport of baseball is set to return in America. Summer truly is on the horizon, and by this time next week we will all be right back in the thick of the action. With the games just around the bend, the question on everyone’s mind is surely, who will win the 2013 World Series? Smart teams have assembled key free agents and puzzle pieces to help sustain a run, while other teams are struggling with injuries or the realization that those key pickups may not be so key after all! How is baseball going to shape up this season?
One of the teams that intrigues me is the Los Angeles Dodgers. With new and ambitious owners, the team has been stockpiling an expensive array of big name players. Now they boast one of the best groups of starting pitchers in the nation. Clayton Kershaw is an ace just one year removed from the NL Cy Young award. Zack Greinke, a highly prized free agent, has also joined the side, which will help them compete against anyone with their top two pitchers. 3rd pitcher Josh Beckett was a strange option brought in from the Boston Red Sox, and has been through a rough patch of his career. But if he can approach any of his former greatness, Beckett could be another ace for the Dodgers. Only 32 years old, Beckett is still young enough to return to form and has big game experience. The Dodgers have a range of players to fill out the rotation including Chad Billingsley, Chris Capuano, and Aaron Harang.
For the reason that their pitching should be so good, I am predicting the Los Angeles Dodgers to reach the 2013 World Series. Yes, their disappointment last year was embarrassing, but Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the new ownership is doing everything possible to make the Dodgers a contender. I also envision them making another big trade late in the season to fix any weaknesses.
In the American League? I’m picking the New York Yankees, for the simple reason that no one else is. This overlooked team won the AL East last year, and although alarm bells have been ringing all offseason about injuries to Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira, the Yankees have added several veterans who could provide the necessary punch including Travis Hafner, Kevin Youkilis, and Ichiro Suzuki who arrived midseason last year. With C.C. Sabbathia on the mound they have a proven ace pitcher. Kiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettite can still compete, and the Yankees have a solid closer in Mariano Rivera.
The Yankees will probably struggle early in the season, but as players return from injuries and the rest of the team starts to click, they could get red hot in time for October. Plus, if the engine needs a kick-start, who would doubt that the Yankees might make a blockbuster trade in June to get things moving? They will find a way to get into the postseason as a wild card team, and make the run all the way to the World Series. That’s right, I’m picking the New York Yankees to win it all against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 7 games. Let the fun begin!
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