Game On…with Rob Kriete! – APRIL 1

Baseball Team Logos

Everyone needs an Opening Day in their life. They need that fresh start; the 0 – 0 record. Opening Day represents what could be, not what once was. We all can use a fresh start now and again.

As a life-long baseball fan, every walk of life seems analogous to baseball. In my almost-fifty years on Earth, I’ve had a few MVP seasons, some epic All-Star breaks, some major slumps, and even a few comeback-player years. We all have. I might have even had a Rookie-of-the-Year season my first year of teaching, but I would let my students decide on that.

This week, Major League Baseball’s 2021 season celebrates Opening Day, and every team has a shot (or theoretical shot) at the World Series Championship. The Tampa Bay Rays made it to the Series against the Dodgers of Los Angeles last season, after a 60-game shortened season. Both of these teams are looking to navigate the traditional 162-game schedule to get there again. But so is every other team, and they all have a chance…for now.

The Rays have lost a few star pitchers in Charlie Morton and former Cy-Young winner Blake Snell, but continue to boast an unbelievable bullpen and certainly have postseason aspirations. The Yankees are a perennial contender, but even the mighty Bronx Bombers haven’t won the World Series in over a decade. The Red Sox have a lineup built for Fenway and cannot be dismissed while the Blue Jays are a team looking to turn heads in 2021. The Astros of Houston remain a strong club. However, the boo-birds will be chirping in stadiums around the country when the Astros visit, with many fans still understandably angry at their egregious cheating scandal. Out west in the American League, can one of the greatest players many of have ever seen, Mike Trout, finally be on a team with a deep playoff run? New Angels manager, Joe Madden, can’t hit or pitch, but will try to lead Trout’s team to postseason fun.

In the National League, the bums that left Brooklyn look like the class of the National League. After winning the 2020 World Series, the Dodgers went out and added Trevor Bauer, the 2020 Cy Young Award winner with the Reds. The Atlanta Braves have a great lineup and strong starting pitching, with the New York Mets doing their best to be a force by adding (and signing) dynamic shortstop Francisco Lindor. The Phillies are a strong team with a questionable bullpen, and the humble Marlins were a playoff team after the 60-game spring of a season in 2020. The National League East shapes up to be the best division in the league. At the same time, the San Diego Padres are loaded and ready to stop the Dodgers reign out west.

I love baseball and love Opening Day! Wherever you are, at whatever age, in any walk of life, you can always get your very own fresh start. Cheers to you and to Opening Day!

Be safe, everyone.