It’s Time to Play Ball!
by Amy Lignor
As far back as you can remember, Major League Baseball’s Opening Day comes with pomp, pageantry, good food, excitement, and a whole lot of fun for the family.
Cincinnati, home to the very first professional baseball team, will once again hold the annual Findlay Market Parade, making it official to the whole world that baseball has returned. In Cincinnati it is a holiday for one and all, where citizens stop everything to go out and cheer loud and proud for the hometown Reds.
Opening Day also makes it official – even to those who are still looking out their windows to see a blanket of snow every morning – that winter is out and spring is taking over. Better yet…those warm summer months will soon be on the way; those lazy, hazy days where you can sit at the ballpark and hope to catch that winning home run before heading home.
This one day every year is Major League Baseball’s most profitable day of the season. After this day, up until the “war” comes where two teams must battle to claim the World Series title, the stadiums are less than half full. But, with only a few extremely rare exceptions, Opening Day allows all the clubs in the league to perform in front of a sellout crowd for their first home game of the season.
Now is also the time to brush off that trusty baseball cap. Especially seeing as that the “Caps On” campaign that began last season is back with a vengeance. The specific campaign run by the league encourages everyone, everywhere to don the caps of their favorite teams at work, at school, at the grocery store – and anywhere else you can think of. Now is the time baseball wants you to forget Tom Brady’s jersey and turn your eyes on (what’s supposed to still be) America’s pastime. And, above all, enjoy the heck out of it.
To keep you up-to-date, there are a few key players who are out for Opening Day, and their teams and fans are crossing their fingers that they will return as fast as they can.
Jason Kipnis of the Indians has been suffering with a strained rotator cuff since first reporting to training camp. Not only is he expected to miss Opening Day, but Kipnis is supposedly going to miss all of April and perhaps even May. He is a key player for the defending American League Champions and without him Cleveland’s lineup is going to be in trouble.
When it comes to Orioles territory, Chris Tillman’s pitching shoulder is causing issues. Missing three weeks late last season, he only resumed throwing just recently. He will start on the disabled list for the Orioles, but given the fact that this is a chronic injury, it’s anyone’s guess what the future has in store for Tillman.
Although the Yankees finished five games out of a Wild Card spot last year, their dugout is filled with young talent that could make the Yankees into the “it” team this time around. However, trouble comes to them in the form of Didi Gregorius. Suffering a hematoma in his right shoulder, Gregorius will most likely miss all of April. His talent at the shortstop position, plus the fact that he was swinging extremely well, gave the team what they needed. Now, in his absence, the Yankees will have a bigger hill to climb.
The Red Sox are facing a different dilemma. David Price’s left elbow has had fans sitting on the edge of a precipice with concern for both Price and their beloved Sox for a while now. Although Manager John Farrell said that Price would only be ‘off’ for a week, it’s now been three weeks since that statement and Price is nowhere near playing status. Yes, the Sox have talent, but the injury could lead to Price opting out of his contract after the 2018 season. If this occurs, the Sox will owe $127 million, which will limit them when it comes to gaining advantageous players in the 2018-19 free agent market
But even without these particular names on the field, this is one MLB season that looks like it’s going to be a real thrill ride. Hope, right now, is in every baseball fan’s mind – no matter what team they cheer for. Even if their particular choice seems to not have a chance, history has continued to bring forth ‘Cinderella’ teams that, out of the blue, end up taking the whole kit and caboodle. In other words, if you already think you know who the final two will be…it’s a good bet to think again.
Source: GIG News