This is one of my favorite days of the year. Big league baseball returns. I sit myself down in front of my television for countless games during the spring, summer and fall.
A little secret here: I hope the Kansas City Royals have a good season. It’s fun around here when the Royals are good, I think. I can’t really remember. But I think it’s fun around here when the Royals are good.
That was a joke, people. The Royals were good last season. Just not quite good enough to make the playoffs for the 28th season in a row. Not that I’m counting. But when the Royals win, it makes their fans happy. And when their fans are happy, they talk about baseball. And I love talking about baseball.
So, as I said, I hope the Royals are good this season.
Alright, now on to the St. Louis Cardinals, a team we know is going to be good. At least that’s what everybody is saying.
I prefer to see it actually happen first, but that’s just me.
Yes, the Cardinals look good on paper. But as they say, paper is paper and . . . actually, I have no idea what they say because I don’t listen very closely when they’re saying it.
I do generally listen closely to what I say, although not always. But in the case of the Cardinals, I say there are questions to be answered. And here are just a few.
Bullpen – The Cardinals don’t have a long reliever, at least someone specifically set aside for that role. I hope they don’t need a long reliever very often. When a long reliever is in the game, the game is usually over. Still, I worry about it. I also worry that Pat Neshek and Keith Butler have made the team as relief pitchers. I shouldn’t worry this much, I know. And I’m not really worried worried. I’m somewhat concerned. Yeah, that’s it.
Kolten Wong – Wong was abysmal after being called up late last season, hitting well below the Mendoza Line at something I like to call the Lutz Line. Then he got picked off for the last out of a World Series game against Boston. And that time, I denounced Wong much the way American denounces North Korea. But I’m a softie, so I’ve accepted Wong back into the fold and hope he is a productive, even exciting player. He can run. He has some pop in his bat. And he had an outstanding spring training after a slow start. All is forgiven, Kolten. For now. Wong’s backup, newly-acquired Mark Ellis, is beginning the year on the disabled list. So it looks like either Daniel Descalso or Pete Kozma, another Lutz Line kind of hitter, is Wong’s reserve for now.
Lance Lynn – I know Lynn wins games. I know he pitches a lot of innings. He’s a horse, which is what we baseball guys call pitchers who pitch a lot of innings. Although I’ve never seen a horse pitch an inning. I would like to. Anyway, Lynn is a mess when he pitches. He’s emotionally challenged. He reacts to far too many things and often with negativity. I don’t mind being negative myself, but I hate to that trait in people I care about. And because Lynn is a Cardinal, I care about him. I hope he’s matured some this season. I still want the horse innings and all of that, but I could do without the histrionics.
Oscar Taveras – For a couple of years now, we’ve been hearing about what a great outfield prospect Taveras is. But we’ve never seen him play. Taveras literally has not played an inning of a game in professional baseball, yet is considered a top five prospect. OK, that’s a lie. He has played. He played some for Triple-A Memphis last season before the most mysterious ankle injury of all time put him on the disabled list. This ankle injury has lasted for nine months. It didn’t permit Taveras to play much in spring training for the Cardinals this year and he’ll be back in Triple-A. Playing, I assume, although probably not. Taveras doesn’t play. But he’s a great prospect. I know, doesn’t make sense.
Tony Cruz – Cruz is the Cardinals’ backup catcher. He plays about every third week in place of iron man Yadier Molina. Cruz’s parents don’t know he’s in the major leagues. He’s seen less frequently than Oscar Taveras. And let’s hope it stays that way. An injury to Molina would be devastating to the Cardinals. That said, I would like to see Cruz catch a few more games, just so Molina can rest. Molina is 31 now and the wear of tear of catching can be difficult. Not that I know anyone dumb enough to actually become a catcher. I know I turned that opportunity down when I was 8 and that I’ve never looked back on that decision.
Thanks for reading, everyone. Have a great day watching baseball.