Major League preview

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The weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer. This means one thing to us sports fans, baseball season is here and is here to stay. Unlike March Madness which seems to be over as soon as it begins, baseball fans have a long road ahead of them. For some fans the season will fly by as they enjoy watching their favorite team’s great success on the way to a playoff run, but for others it will seem like an eternity as their team suffers loss after loss. The great thing about baseball is every season is bound to offer something unique that you have never experienced before. For example two years ago I recall watching a team throw a no-hitter and lose the game. Crazy stuff like this seems to happen in baseball more than other sports. The rarity that many fans will have an eye on this season is the chase for a triple crown. A triple crown is when a player leads his league in home runs, batting average, and runs batted in. No one has managed to attain a triple crown since Carl Yastrzemski did it for the Red Sox in 1967. Many people believe that Albert Pujols of the St. Louis Cardinals has a legitimate shot at achieving this milestone this season. The majority of baseball fans at Bethel cheer for one of three teams: the Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers, or Chicago Cubs. The Tigers and Cubs both had seasons over .500 but failed to make the playoffs. The White Sox finished just four games short of .500 last year but are looking to return to the playoffs this season. The White Sox boast one of the deepest starting rotations in all of baseball that is anchored by Mark Buehrle and Jake Peavey. The White Sox acquired Peavey from the San Diego Padres at last year’s trade deadline, and Buehrle tossed a perfect game in the middle of the season. The question for the Sox this year will be whether they can produce enough runs to consistently win games. They have made some acquisitions this offseason that they hope will pay large dividends this season. A notable pickup for the Sox is third baseman Mark Teahen who played with the Kansas City Royals last season. The other offseason additions for the Sox are mainly outfielders. The Sox have four outfielders on their roster that are all accustomed to starting positions. Carlos Quentin, Juan Pierre, Andruw Jones, and Alex Rios will all be fighting for playing time this season. If Carlos Quentin can return to his 2008 form then the White Sox should be contender in the AL Central this season. The Detroit Tigers, another AL Central team, come into the season not really knowing what to expect. The Tigers made a nice addition to their team by signing Johnny Damon from the Yankees but equally so frustrated much of its fan base by trading away center fielder Curtis Granderson. The Tigers top two pitchers are a one-two punch to be reckoned with in veteran Justin Verlander and 21 year old Rick Porcello. If these two pitchers get off to a good start look for the backend to follow suit. Like almost all baseball teams, the Tigers offensive output is going to heavily rely on the middle of the batting order players. The Tigers two through five spots are loaded with experienced and proven veterans who have all been great run producers in past years. I think the player to watch offensively for the Tigers is Johnny Damon. If he can consistently get on base ahead of Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera then I believe the Tigers should have a good year. The Chicago Cubs are coming into the 2010 season with lots of question marks. Unlike last year when hopes were high for this ballclub, the fan’s attitudes towards this year’s team seem much more subdued and melancholy. It is hard for the fans to get excited for this go around when the front office failed to bring in a much needed good hitter to a team that struggled to score runs last season. The Cubs are hoping that addition by subtraction is the answer to the team’s problems. The Cubs traded away the problematic Milton Bradley who never seemed to gel with his team either on or off the field. The Cubs are hoping this solves most of last year’s problems. The hitting is a question mark going into the season but the biggest problem the Cubs will face is depth in the pitching staff. The Cubs bullpen is shallow and sketchy at best going into regular season play. The Cubs will have to stay away from injuries and hope the young pitchers step up and embrace their roles. If this does not happen it could be another long summer for Cub fans.
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