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Manny Ramirez: The End of a Nightmare

MLB reports:  As a fan, analyst and writer of baseball, I rarely take pleasure in the misery of others.  Some of my readers would point to Vernon Wells and my “Vernon Watch” in what I commonly refer to as a showcase of blundery.  But Vernon is the exception to the rule.  For the most part, players are athletes that train hard, play with heart and hustle and give it their all on the playing field.  With the career of Manny Ramirez unceremoniously coming to a halt yesterday, there is an overwhelming sense of relief and enjoyment around baseball circles today.  For a man who could hit baseballs like flew other, one of the greatest hitters in MLB history will go down in the baseball archives as a laughingstock and side-show act.  A shame when one looks at the statistics and career of Manny Ramirez.  But for a man who got one too many chances, the punishment fits the crime.  Today we say goodbye to a distraction and one less black eye for the glorious game of baseball.


The first questions most MLB fans asked me yesterday was whether Manny deserves to go into the hall of fame?  My answer is simple.  In my opinion, if I had a vote, a definite yes.  Regardless of what Manny took or didn’t take, his statistics speak for themselves.  There have been many drug cheats and cheaters of all kind in baseball over the years.  The bottom line is that not many match to Manny’s outstanding numbers.  But alas I do not have a vote to-date and from what the baseball writers have shown in recent voting history with McGwire and Palmeiro, Ramirez won’t so much as get as much a sniff of the hall.  I can see the arguments for keeping Ramirez out of the hall.  Based on his second failed drug test and choice to retire and run over facing the music cements a legacy of being a quitter and a coward.  Manny gave up on the Red Sox and the Dodgers and got run out-of-town in each instance.  A first failed drug test blamed on some sort of hormone substances.  With a second failed test, Manny decided to take his glove and go home, rather than face the music.  I cannot see fans, let alone baseball writers forgiving him for this decision.  But again fitting for a man who has made a career of bad decisions and turning his back on the game one too many times.


Where does the future now lie for Manny Ramirez?  Many ex-players have the option of going into scouting, managing, broadcasting, writing….the field is wide open.  Mark McGwire, got a job as the hitting coach for the St. Louis Cardinals, but as part of the requirement McGwire had to go on national television and give his apology.  Sort of.  But McGwire always had the eye of the public for his strong image and was somewhat cut some slack by the public.  Manny, with his quirky and aloof personality has a better chance of becoming President of the United States than a baseball coach, manager or broadcaster.  Seen as a liability, Manny is now headed into a self-imposed baseball exile, joining the likes of Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Barry Bonds as the baseball steroids/ped’s outcasts.  I could envision a day where Manny will write a tell-all book, explaining his side of “the story” while outing ex-friends and teammates in the process.  Manny just seems to be one of those guys, concerned more about himself and the almighty dollar than anything else.


When we all think to Manny Ramirez in ten years time, we will think of an idiot.  That will be the image in our minds.  Not the young rookie sensation on the Indians, World Series champ for the Red Sox, dreadlocks #99 igniter on the Dodgers or a two-bit player on the White Sox and Rays.  The man who chose to instantly retire rather than face his due punishment.  When faced with his first suspension last year, Manny did not speak to the media the entire balance of the season.  He is that kind of guy.  I did not imagine for the life of me in the offseason that any team would take a chance on him.  In my estimation, Manny was best served going away gracefully at the end of 2010 rather than being one last thorn in the side of an undeserving team.  When the Rays signed Manny, I said publicly that this could only end bad and that he would not last the season.  Rather than being dumped in August, Manny barely survived a week into 2011.  A 1-17 start at the plate will be the final blemish on an otherwise exceptional statistical career.  But as hall of fame voters are now showing, votes go beyond the numbers.  Manny Ramirez in the twilight of his career has been essentially a nightmare for all those involved with him.  Staring today, the nightmare is over.  Baseball does not need or want the Manny Ramirez’s of this world and my hope is that after this latest horror show, baseball will not see another Manny for a long time.  Baseball is built on hustle, teamwork, determination and heart.  Four words that were not in Manny’s vocabulary and for that transgression, we finally say goodbye to Manny for the last time. 


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MLB reports:  As readers know from my previous articles, the closer position in my opinion is the most volatile one in all of baseball.  While I love the idea of a 9th inning hard thrower coming in to blow away the other team to get the save, the identity of the closer on each team can change day-to-day and week-to-week.  Some teams came into the season with a set closer in place, while other teams are still working by committee.  After completing opening weekend, let’s take a look around baseball to see how some closers have fared thus far.

1)  Pittsburgh Pirates- Joel Hanrahan:  After some talk of Hanrahan and Evan Meek sharing the closing duties for the Pirates, Hanrahan has taken the role and run with it.  In three games, Hanrahan already has three saves and is yet to give up an earned run.  His 5/1 K/BB ratio is great.  With Meek getting blown early and often (21.60 ERA), it looks like the Pirates have their closer for the foreseeable future.

2)  Los Angeles Dodgers- Jonathan Broxton:  With three saves of his own, Broxton looks strong to start the season.  Until you notice that he also given up two homeruns and has a 1/0 K/BB ratio.  This means that Broxton is giving up runs and not striking guys out despite being handed early season leads.  A recipe for disaster, Broxton will need to shape up in a hurry or risk losing his job in the next week or two.  Monitor this situation closely.

3)  New York Yankees- Mariano Rivera:  The only other closer with three saves on the season, Mo is just being Mo.  He is as automatic as closers come and requires no further explanation.

4)  Atlanta Braves- Craig Kimbrel:  Another possible closer-by-committee situation has turned into Kimbrel having the job exclusively to start the year.  With two saves, five k’s in two innings thus far, Kimbrel has been lights-out.  As long as he stays consistent, the job is his for now and possibly the next few years.

5)  Chicago Cubs- Carlos Marmol:  After signing a big contract, much was expected from Marmol.  The other closer besides Kimbrel to have two saves, Marmol has been hit and miss to start the year.  With few options on the horizon, expect Marmol to be good and finish with 20-30 saves for a middle-of-the-pack Cubs team.

6)  Anaheim Angels- Fernando Rodney:  With a 13.50 ERA and 4/2 BB/K ratio, Rodney is on a very short leash at this point.  With one or two more rocky outings, expect Scoscia to turn to other options until Rodney straightens himself out.  I see Rodney being the closer for the majority of the year, but April has not been kind to him thus far.

7)  Minnesota Twins- Joe Nathan:  I was at the Jays/Twins game on Sunday and got to watch both Nathan and Capps pitch.  I cannot say at this point which pitcher has the advantage, although Nathan looked very rusty after a year off.  If Nathan does not come together, I can definitely see Capps taking the job for the foreseeable future.  Coming back from injuries is tricky and I would not be relying on Nathan at this point yet.

8)  Arizona Diamondbacks- J.J. Putz:  So far, so good in Arizona.  With one save under his belt, Putz had 2 k’s in his first opportunity. After a horror of a bullpen last year, Kirk Gibson will enjoy a year of Putz as his closer in Arizona.

Remember, it is still early and much can change over the course of this month.  Closers are often one home run or blister away from losing their positions.  They are a nightmare for fantasy players and even bigger stress sources for baseball fans.  Keep your expectations in check and remember to judge the players on the totality of their work: one bad inning will rarely make or break a person’s career.

Around the Majors:  Players of Note from Monday April 4th

1)  Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis led the surging Orioles to another victory.  Roberts had a three-run home run for the O’s and Markakis chipped in with three hits of his own. 

2)  Jake Arrieta got the win for the Orioles over the Tigers, pitching six innings and only one earned run.  On the flipside, Porcello gave up five runs in five innings, with 9 hits allowed.  The Tigers pitching has been weak out of the gate.

3)  Martin Prado and Dan Uggla both homered for the Braves in a win over the Brewers.  Nice to see Uggla getting on track.

4)  Ricky Weekes continued his torrid start to the season with his third home run. Highly touted for years, if he stays healthy, 2011 could be his year.

5)  Beachy was outstanding in his first start of the year.  Only one earned run over six innings, he had a 1/7 BB/K ratio.  Kimbrel dominated for his second save by striking out the side in the ninth.

6)  Saito was bombed in the 8th for the Brewers, giving up two earned runs and three hits in the 8th.  With Axford’s struggles to boot, the closing situation in Milwaukee remains murky.

7)  Alfonso Soriano had two hits and home run for the Cubs in their win over the Diamondbacks.  Soto also chipped in with two hits as well.

8)  A-Rod and Posada both went deep for the Yankees as they beat the twins.  The Yankees bats have been on fire.

9)  Ivan Nova had a quality start for the Yankees, with three earned runs in his six innings pitched.  He finished with a 1/3 BB/K ratio.

10)  Texas remained undefeated as Nelson Cruz hit his fourth home run in four games.  Always a power threat, Cruz can break forty bombs if healthy.

11)  Elvis Andrus also went deep for Texas and is hitting .385 on the season.

12)  Derek Holland continued to show the Mike Maddux magic by having a quality start, seven innings, three earned runs and a 1/5 BB/K ratio.  Maddux is the new Dave Duncan.

13)  Milton Bradley hit third for the Mainers and finished with three hits.  With a .353 average, Milton is surprising a lot of people.  Let’s see if he can keep it up.

14)  Erik Bedard in his first start of the season after a long layover from injuries returned and pitched ok.  Three earned in five innings, Bedard gave up two home runs in the loss.

15)  McCutchen and Walker continued to lead the Pirates as they upped their record to 3-1 by defeating the Cardinals.  McCutchen hit his second home run of the year and Walker finished with three hits.

16)  Charlie Morton was the next Pirates pitcher to star.  One earned over six innings, though of concern was his 5/2 BB/K ratio.  Morton better watch those walks if he hopes to be successful this year.  A decent fifth starter, I wouldn’t expect much from him yet on a young Pirates team.


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MLB Opening Day: Survival List and Highlights

MLB reports:  Going into day-two of the MLB opening day schedule, I will be in Toronto tonight to watch the hometown Blue Jays face the Minnesota Twins.  With a sold-out, packed stadium of over 50,000 screaming fans, tonight will be awesome.  Opening day is the greatest baseball day of the year and should never be missed.  I have attended all-star games and World Baseball Classic matchups and I can still say that opening day is number one.  I have not yet attended any world series games, which has its own energy and excitement..  But the start of the year, the start of the season, with hope and optimism all around- opening day is king.

With hope comes reality.  Opening day, while a great deal of fun to watch, should still be prepared for ahead of time.  For those experienced fans who have been through this before but need a refresher after a long offseason and for those new to the game, I have prepared the following tips for you.  Opening day is most enjoyable when you come to the game ready.  Here is what you need to do in order to enjoy the experience to the fullest.

1)  Pack food and water:  Check the policy of your stadium on this, but most will allow you to bring in any food and a sealed bottled of water.  Opening day gets pretty hectic, as the stadium will be full and the concessions are not yet in mid-season form.  To avoid missing any of the action in long lineups, plan ahead and bring your own munchies. 

2)  Wear baseball gear:  Coming to opening day without a baseball top/cap is unacceptable.  Preferably you should wear the colors of your home team, but any baseball clothing will do.  To get into the excitement, you have to dress the part.

3)  Bring a camera:  Opening day will last three to four hours, but pictures last a lifetime.  Be sure to capture all the moments of the game and your surroundings.  The more friends an family that you have at the game, the better the photo opportunities.

4)  Bring people:  Coming to the game with a buddy or loved one is great.  But the more people that join you in your section, the greater the feeling you will have at the game.  I have seven people in total in my group coming today, it will be a blast.

5)  Strategic bathroom breaks:  Try to go right before the game starts.  The bathrooms will be crowded all game long and hopefully your bladder can hold up for most, if not the entire game.

6)  Arrive early:  On a Friday, traffic is usually bad no matter where we live.  Add to that the number of people attending the game, the slow pace of the ushers in welcoming people, checking tickets and giving away free stuff- and you have a recipe for disaster.  Try to be at your stadium approximately two hours before game time to make sure that you can easily get in, check out the concessions and all the pre-game festivities in a relaxed manner.

7)  Bring your Smartphone:  If you have a blackberry or iphone, sending the occasional updates through twitter or facebook will make you leading edge and gives the people that follow you a chance to share in your experience.  Photo updates get bonus points.

8)  Get into the game:  Socializing throughout the game is fun.  But if you are at the point that you have no idea what inning it is and the score, clearly you are not paying enough attention.  Keep focused so that you miss any of the key game highlights and bring the game into your discussion.  The greater experience you have on opening day, the more likely you will be out for future games this season.

9)  Watch the lineup:  Your home team likely has some new faces.  Learn the roster and get to know the players on your team.  You will see them for 162 games this year and watching them live to start the year will help your knowledge.  I look for things like batting stances, pitching deliveries, names/numbers etc.  Learn your team as the better you know your guys, the harder you will support them.

10)  Savor the moment:  Enjoy every second that you are there.  Take in every sight, sound and smell from opening day from the second you enter the stadium to the time you leave.  You will only get one crack at opening day every season, enjoy this one. 

I wish everyone a great MLB opening day!  Hopefully you will get to attend a game in person over the course of the last two days.  If not, try to make sure that you are enjoying an opening day game, if it is on your computer, television or radio.  Then try to make the effort to get to a game as soon as you can to get into the spirit of the start of the MLB season.  Plan a road trip for the summer to watch some games at a park that you have never seen.  But at the end of the day, just enjoy baseball.  It is the greatest game in the world and its back for the next seven months.  It’s truly the best time of year to be a baseball fan.

MLB reports from Opening Day- Thursday March 31st:

1)      Some shaky closers to start the year as Axford imploded as the Brewers lost to the Reds, Broxton and Franklin both gave up long balls in their initial outings and Rodney got the save in a high WHIP fashion.  Remember, there will be new closers on 30-40% of teams by the end of the year.  Closer is the most volatile position in baseball.

2)      Alex Gordon, batting third for the Royals, went 0-5 with 3 SO.  My preseason pick to have a strong bounce back year, I hope that he doesn’t fail me.

3)      Checking my predictions for the opening day schedule, I finished with a 5-1 record yesterday.  The only game I missed on was the Cardinals and Padres game.  Little did I know that Pujols would ground into three double plays.  It was just one of those games.  We shall see how I do on the rest of my predictions later today.  You can view my opening day matchups and predictions on posted on Tuesday.

4)      The Dodgers/Giants game proved to be a pitching matchup for the ages.  Kershaw and Lincecum went head-to-head and did not disappoint.  Key moment of the game occurred when the Dodgers had a 1-0 lead in the 6th with the bases loaded and two outs.  Mattingly decided to let Kershaw bat for himself.  In a tight game with little offensive opportunities, the Dodger’s manager could have cost himself the game.  In an early game and Kershaw likely to go only one more inning (which he did), you need to play to win.  Hopefully someone can explain the National League to Donny as the season progresses.  Otherwise, Kershaw looks like he is ready to break out into a superstar and Lincecum will be solid yet again.

5)      The Padres are in big trouble.  Now that Adrian Gonzalez is gone, the smoke and mirrors can be removed and the carriage is now back into being a pumpkin.  When Venable is your leadoff hitter and Orlando Hudson is batting third, you know that it will be a long year.  It looked to me like Buddy Black created a lineup by drawing names out of a hat.  With so little talent, maybe he is on to something. 

6)      Jered Weaver looked great to start the year and should be in Cy Young form.  The Angels as a team are yet again the impatient hackers on offense that they always seem to be.  Against a scuffling Luke Hochevar, the Angels stranded 15 men on base and only took one walk as a team.  The Angels will have to rely on their pitching if they hope to contend in the AL West.  Vernon Wells had a typical Vernon night.  Anaheim fans will be calling for his head by June.

7)      Great start by the Braves.  Lowe was spectacular and Heyward is mature beyond his years.  He will be the face of the franchise for the next ten to twelve years if he stays healthy.

8)      Phil Coke, the named fifth starter for the Tigers had a shaky relief outing against the Yankees.  This cannot help his chances to keep a starting role.  Hopefully the Tigers give him a chance to start and show what he can for at least a month.


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MLB Opening Day Preview: Schedule and Pitching Previews

MLB reports:  With the 2011 MLB season about to commence, literally hours away at this moment- my thoughts continue to centre on the Holy Grail:  Opening Day.  This year, there are 12 teams playing on Thursday March 31st with the remaining teams playing the next day.  For each MLB fan rooting for their respective team, there are 15 different opening day games that will be the focal point for them.  Regardless of the city you live in or the team you root for, the first game of the year is the most exciting. It is time to shake the snow off your boots, grab your jersey and tickets and get ready for the start of baseball.  For you, the diehards, I present the matchups and probable pitchers for each game.

In my brief analysis of each game, I have taken a slight twist in my analysis.  I have decided not to crunch the numbers and take the stats route.  To predict the outcomes of games, most stat-heads tend to look at historical opening day numbers for each team, head-to-head records, home/away records, day/night games, etc.  This article contains none of the above.  I am simply looking at the teams, taking a feel for each lineup and starting pitcher for each team, in performing my discussion.  I was planning to post this article in a couple of days but with the enthusiasm of opening day on the horizon, I simply could not wait.  Thus MLB fans, I present to you: The breakdown of the MLB Opening Day lineup.  (Note:  all game times are EST.  Starting pitchers are subject to change, especially for injuries.  Games may be delayed due to weather conditions)

Thursday March 31, 2011

1)  Atlanta Braves at Washington Nationals:

1:05pm:  Derek Lowe vs. Livian Hernandez

There will be 2 games to start the year on Thursday at 1:05pm and this will be the first game previewed.  America’s team, the Braves vs. the Nationals in the Nation’s capital.  The Nationals are a nice, young exciting team with a great deal of buzz surrounding the team.  Unfortunately, neither of its 2 brightest stars-to-be, Strasburg and Harper will not be a part of the opening day lineup.  The Braves have a strong, young team led by Heyward and Freeman.  Derek Lowe is an experienced veteran who gets the opening day nod out of respect.  Livian Hernandez, on the other hand, is the opening day starter by default.  The Nationals fans will be likely going home disappointed on this day, as the Braves will be the victors in a high scoring opener.

2)  Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees

1:05pm:  Justin Verlander vs. C.C. Sabathia

The next opening game of the year to start the year comes from new Yankee Stadium, as 2 historical teams matchup in what should be an excellent pitching matchup.  Verlander and Sabathia are 2 of the strongest pitchers in the majors and should go toe-to-toe in this game.  While I see the hitters having the advantage in this game while the pitchers break into the season in a strong hitting park, smart money is the Yankees taking the win in their home park.    

3)  Milwaukee Brewers at Cincinnati Reds

2:10pm:  Yovanni Gallardo vs. Edinson Volquez

This game is the one that will catch my attention the most on Thursday.  Two of the most exciting offensive teams in the majors, each led by their young strikeout artists.  Gallardo and Volquez are cut from the same mold:  when on, both are untouchable.  When both are having difficulties, they can be time bombs.  In the Cincinnati bandbox, I am predicting a high scoring game and a Reds victory.  I am a big Gallardo supporter, but I can’t see opening in Cincinnati working well for him. 

4)  L.A. Angels at Kansas City Royals

4:10pm:  Jered Weaver vs. Luke Hochevar

On paper this matchup looks very easy to analyze and in reality, it is.  Weaver is a stud hurler for the Angels, a team with strong defense and fairly balanced offense. The Royals have Cabrera and Francouer in the outfield and Hochevar as their “ace”.  The Royals fans are fortunate to be opening the season at home.  This will be the last of their fortunes on this day as Weaver and the Angels should easily have their way with a Royals team in their final year of rebuilding as respectability begins for them in 2012.

5)  San Diego Padres at St. Louis Cardinals

4:15pm:  Tim Stauffer vs. Chris Carpenter

The young and surprising Padres bring their smoke and mirror show to St. Louis to face the Cards and Chris Carpenter.  With one of my hyped young hurlers Matt Latos on the shelf, Tim Stauffer gets the nod for the opener for the Padres.  With Adrian Gonzalez in Boston, the Padres will find a difficult time to score runs this year.  Stauffer, stellar in the bullpen and spot starts for the Padres in 2010, is now moved into the rotation full time this year.  Carpenter, one of the best pitchers in the game, will prove to be stingy at home.  Regardless of how many runs the Cardinals score on this day, 2 runs will be enough for the Cardinals to start their year with a win.

6)  San Francisco Giants vs. L.A. Dodgers

8:00pm:  Tim Lincecum vs. Clayton Kershaw

This will be a premier matchup, as the World Series champions Giants face their arch-rivals, the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Lincecum vs. Kershaw will be a pitching matchup for the ages.  I see these pitchers battling all night, with the Dodgers emerging victorious. Opening night will be exciting for the Giants, but the hangover effect on the road leans to an advantage to L.A. on this night.

Friday April 1, 2011

7)  Houston Astros at Philadelphia Phillies

1:05pm:  Brett Myers vs. Roy Halladay

Day 2 of Opening Day finds Brett Myers coming back to his old stomping grounds to face Halladay and the Phillies.  I don’t want to formally go on record and say that Halladay will throw a no-no in the opener…so….let’s just say, I have already said enough.  The Phillies fans will be smelling blood and it should not take long for Myers to be shaken as the Phillies hitters have their way with him.  Houston goes down quietly and quickly in this one.

8)  Pittsburgh Pirates at Chicago Cubs

2:20pm:  Kevin Correia vs. Ryan Dempster

Unless you are a Pirates or Cubs fans…I imagine that only the diehards will be watching this one.  Kevin Correia in my estimation was a solid pickup for the Pirates and with decent run support will win at least 12 games in Pittsburgh.  Dempster, as a steady pitcher for the Cubs will prove to be a worthy adversary.  This game will boil down to which team gets the better pitching and my crystal balls sees a Pirates victory in this one.

9)  Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Indians

3:05pm:  Mark Buehrle vs. Fausto Carmona

In the seemingly never-ending Opening Day matchup between the Chisox and Indians, Buehrle and Carmona face off in Cleveland.  As most White Sox fans will attest, Buehrle can be steady at the best of times and extremely frustrating in others.  The Opening Day nod was given to Buehrle by Ozzie out of respect and years of service, which is well deserved and applauded.  But with the hot hand of Fausto going into the opener, the Indians will squeak out a victory in the opener in one of the few bright moments that will likely shine in Cleveland’s otherwise rebuilding 2011 season.

10)  Boston Red Sox at Texas Rangers

4:05pm:  Jon Lester vs. C.J. Wilson

I would have loved to be at this game, as this game features the matchup of two of the best MLB offenses and dynamic left-handed pitchers.  This game is being in played Texas, which tends to favor the hitters in the summer…but alas, this game is being played in April.  The Red Sox will be buzzing with excitement with the additions of Gonzalez and Crawford, with the home return of Salty.  After falling short in the World Series, I foresee the Rangers coming to the game focused and determined.  Wilson will be on his game as the Rangers start 2011 with a hard fought victory over the Red Sox in a low scoring game.

11)  Arizona Diamondbacks at Colorado Rockies

4:10pm:  Ian Kennedy v. Ubaldo Jimenez

One word:  Ubaldo.  The man with what, a 0.70 ERA in the first half of last year?  Ubaldo translates from Spanish to English to mean unhittable.  The Rockies take this game in 2 hours or less.

12)  Minnesota Twins at Toronto Blue Jays

7:07pm:  Carl Pavano vs. Ricky Romero

My live Opening Day game is in Toronto, Canada as Pavano and the Twins take on Romero and the Jays.  Both pitchers come into this game after difficult final outings in their last respective spring training games.  I was impressed with the Pavano re-signing with the Twins, as there is an excellent fit for him with this team.  Romero, while a young exciting pitcher, is still growing into his role as ace on an up-and-coming Toronto team.  While game 2 of this series features the true exciting pitching matchup of Liriano and Drabek, the fans attending opening day will have to settle to watch a decent game which will feature a victorious Twins team. 

13)  Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays

7:10pm:  Mark Guthrie vs. David Price

David Price, who will prove to be a serious Cy-Young candidate this year, faces the Orioles at home.  My preseason favorites to win the AL East, this game should be a cake walk for the Rays and Price.  While the Orioles will have a .500 team this year, Opening Night will not be their night.

14)  New York Mets at Florida Marlins

7:10pm:  Mike Pelfrey vs. Josh Johnson

Josh Johnson, when healthy, is one of the top pitchers in baseball.  Mike Pelfrey, pitching for the bottom-feeder Mets, is like a lamb being led to the slaughter.  Playing their final opener in their current home park, the soon-to-be Miami Marlins will give the Mets the first of their likely 90+ losses of the year.  Not even close.

15)  Seattle Mariners at Oakland Athletics

10:05pm:  Felix Hernandez at Trevor Cahill

The final game of the year features the “Moneyball” Oakland A’s hosting King Felix and the Mariners.  The A’s will have an exciting young team that has some of the strongest pitching in the AL with an improved offense that should finish 2nd in the AL West, with the chance of a division win.  The Mariners, a young team in rebuild mode, have the reigning AL Cy Young winner on the hill.  Despite many bumps ahead in their season, I would never bet against King Felix.  Opening Day ends with a Mariners victory and the season being completely underway.

As you, I cannot wait for the season to start.  Spring training has been exciting and now it is time for the game and stats to count.  While March has been about the hitters and pitchers to get their innings and at-bats in, Opening Day means that the games will be played the way they are meant to.  It’s a long MLB season, with 162 games ahead for each of our teams.  But with all the teams starting with a 0-0 record, everyone has an equal chance of success.  With that in mind and knowing the matchups, let’s get ready for 3 more nights of sleep and then it will be time to play ball.  Have a great season everyone; I have a feeling 2011 will be one of the best MLB seasons of all time.


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Opening Day Excitement! First Phone Entry

MLB reports:  Welcome to the start of several firsts today. Saturday March 19, 2011. MLB reports transforms into a daily baseball site- with new content posted every day. After much deliberation and thought, I decided that the demand for daily baseball news is high and I am happy to deliver. So welcome to the new universe, the “new” format of MLB reports.

Ultimately, the content will be based on what you, the readers, want to see. Based on our conversations on twitter, facebook and e-mail, the topics of interest continually emerge. If you really want to see a point of discussion, don’t be shy- let me know. I will do my best to bring the best and latest baseball news with discussion.

It is very exciting to be posting this entry on my blackberry. A little raw and fresh, but feels very real. Being so excited about opening day just up ahead, I couldn’t wait to shout it out. The blackberry is proving to be a fantastic outlet.

I see the opening day tickets in my drawer, all 8 of them. Lots of people coming out this year which will make the experience that much more fun. I will be going to the Jays opener on Friday April 1st against the Twins, the day after the first real day. Where will you be? What is your plans for one of the biggest baseball days? Whether in the ballpark live, at home in front of the television or listening on the radio, just be there. Opening day is the day when all fans unite to celebrate the greatest sport on the planet. Have fun and enjoy everyone. Less than 2 weeks away!

Please e-mail us at: with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook .  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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