Siberian Baseball

Monday, April 02, 2007

Everyone's a winner on Opening Day

Opening Day - It's like Christmas, only I don't have to put up with my family... I think it's pretty cool that you say "Opening Day" and it's pretty apparent what sport you're talking about. I'm not really sure what the NFL's Week One is known as, other than Week One.

Aside from that, who cares what you call basketball or hockey.It usually takes a few weeks for anyone to really notice those sports have started.

* The big question I have when I see pictures of Pete Rose at Opening Day is whether or not he has to watch his mouth around the ballpark - well, in public, really - when using the word "bet."

Like, let's say Adam Dunn comes up with two homers already and some know-it-all in the section chimes in with, "Dunn is automatic! Here comes the third homer, baby! Woo!"

Can Rose still say, "Wanna bet?" without serious repercussions?

I bet he can't... Damn, I would make a sub-par Pete Rose.

*One of the common refrains that I'm seeing in league previews is that the top two guys in most rotations are solid starters and the three through five guys are where you separate the men from the boys.

This is pretty self-evident as you look at the top-tier teams and work your way down to the Mariners and Royals of the world. Hell, just look at the cash commanded for very average pitchers in the offseason.

The capper might have been on-air speculation tonight about what Dennys Reyes would command on the open market. It was done in all seriousness.

My gut tells me that as we get into the three, four, five guys in every team's rotation, you'll be able to see which teams are in for a long season and which ones are ahead of the pack by virtue of having normal pitching depth.

* All told, from the highlights I'm seeing and the bits of games I caught live, it was a pretty predictable day around the league, with the top-shelf starters performing the way they're paid to and competition being pretty equal for Opening Day. The exception is the fluke blowout by Cleveland over the White Sox, which had more to do with the first game than talent levels.

I refuse to believe that the Sox are that bad or the Indians are that good, but I could be wrong.

* Ben Sheets got off to a hot start and as he goes, so goes Milwaukee - which should have been the case for years now, save for his injuries and under performing from year to year. A two-hitter out of the box certainly bodes well for the Brewers.

* Manny Ramirez apparently has a tough time getting things going every year according to the announced at the Royals/Red Sox game from Kansas City today. I'd never really noticed, I guess, but just add it to the list of Manny's quirks.

One player who has no such problems is Vlad Guerrero who until he just ripped a shot down the left-field line in his first at-bat had hit home runs off the first pitch he saw in 2005 and 2006.

OK, that's pretty cool.

* My new goal for this season is to try and get a more accurate read on which sleeper teams that start hot are for real and which ones will fall back to earth. Last year, I picked the Brewers and panned the Tigers after hot starts by both... yeah, that worked out well.

This year, I don't even need to pick the sleepers, I just want to be able to call it one way or another more quickly than I usually do.

By that, I mean before the second week of October.

(Photo from the Associated Press, via

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