Baseball is back!

The 2012 MLB regular season is now underway. Here are a few of my thoughts and ramblings with the start of the new season.

  • The Reds give Joey Votto a 10 year $225 million contract extension. And it’s worth it. Reds owner Bob Castellini understands that the small to midmarket fan base put a higher emphasis on their favorite local players and opened the purse strings for not only a local fan favorite but one of the most productive players in the National League.
  • The Miami Marlins may be one of the teams that everybody keeps an eye on this season if only to see how soon it will be before that team will implode. Former Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen will be working with a relatively young team. Not to mention the always combustible Hanley Ramirez who was not overly ecstatic about his move to third base after the acquisition of Jose Reyes. The Marlins have talent and the Guillen can keep this team together the Marlins could be a contender for the wildcard.
  • The Boston Red Sox historic collapse of last season ended with accusations, finger-pointing and the departure of manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein. So the Sox brought in Bobby Valentine to help right the ship. Not one to steer clear of conflict, Valentine has already stirred the embers and the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry. Valentine will either straighten the ship or take it to the bottom with him.
  • Like the Red Sox, can the Braves rebound from their own late-season collapse of last year?
  • Not sure if it is a smart move to have the MLB opening day on the same day as the Masters begins.
  • Ubaldo Jimenez receives five games for plunking the Rockies Troy Tulowitzki. Fortunately, Tulowitzki is expected to play in the Rockies season opener. Had he landed on the DL, I feel that Jimenez should have been suspended for as long as Tulowitzki had been on the DL.
  • Did the ownership group that spent $2 billion to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers leave themselves without any financial room to make roster changes this year should the Dodgers be able to compete in the National League West?
  • Even though I play MLB the Show 12, I love the commercials with Justin Verlander for Major League Baseball 2K 12.
  • How long before American League managers find out what National League managers have known all along… You don’t pitch to Albert Pujols.
  • The Cardinals Mike Matheny and the White Sox Robin Ventura both begin their managerial careers at the major-league level this season with no previous managerial experience. With an experienced and talented team at his disposal, Matheny’s on-the-job training should be much easier than Ventura’s.
  • Theo Epstein looks to take the Cubs to a far-off and distant place that Chicago north-siders have long dreamed of…a World Series championship. Can Epstein capture lightning in a bottle the same way as he did with the Red Sox?

And of course it wouldn’t be right unless I gave you my predictions for this year’s MLB season.

  • National League division winners: Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Arizona.
  • National League wild cards: San Francisco, Atlanta
  • American League division winners: New York, Detroit, Los Angeles
  • American League wild cards: Texas, Cleveland
  • World Series: Philadelphia vs. Detroit
  • Champion: Philadelphia
  • AL MVP: Albert Pujols
  • AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander
  • NL MVP: Joey Votto
  • National League Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw
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