Rivalry Renewed

It’s that time again.

I’ve noticed over the last decade or so that the MLB schedule every year has the Red Sox and Yankees play an early April series, on the weekend, with the Sunday game always being shown on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. You can seriously set your watch to it.

So off we go with the first of 187 meetings this season in the greatest rivalry in sports. I’m actually intrigued to see how this one goes.

Personal Dan the #1 Rays Fan punching bag Wade Miley toes the slab for the Sox in game one, and I’m interested to see how he fares in the little league ballpark that is the new Yankee Stadium. If he goes out and throws 7 scoreless, I may have to turn my phone off for the night. Although I’m sure when I turn it on again, I’ll have three missed messages from Dave, laughing at my expense. He’ll probably throw in some cracks that Rays Those Cowbells can’t crack the 100-point barrier in week one either. I’m getting there, slowly but surely!

As for New York, big-time offseason addition (lol) Nathan Eovaldi tries to slow down one of the best offenses in the American League, and I’m sure it will work out great. I’ve always found that the recipe for success is trading for a mediocre pitcher who posted a 4.37 ERA in the light-hitting National League, and bringing him over to the best hitters’ park in the American League where the big-boy offenses play. The Yankees front office is already in mid-season form.

My only regret is that this series isn’t in Fenway Park. I’d love to see the Red Sox faithful make Alex Rodriguez regret ever returning for this year, one AB at a time.

Red Sox take 2 of 3.

The Weighting Game

The Red Sox just never got it right last year. The defending champions stumbled out of the gate and limped to their second last-place finish in three seasons. So it’s no surprise, at least to me, that they responded with a vengeance in the offseason.

They traded for Wade Miley. They traded for Rick Porcello. They dumped struggling Will Middlebrooks and signed the best bat on the market, Hanley Ramirez, to a long-term deal to restart the offense. But the most risky, and at least in my opinion, the worst decision, was to sign Pablo Sandoval to big money to be a cornerstone at 3rd base.

Sandoval is the very definition of a clutch hitter, if such a thing exists. He’s a three-time World Series champion, owns a World Series MVP trophy, and has a career postseason batting average of .344. This guy comes up big when it matters most. We all know that.

But his focus and commitment have been questioned throughout his career. His regular season numbers are mediocre, he has huge lapses in concentration throughout the long season, and he’s had struggles with his weight his entire career. So it must have been pretty concerning when Pablo showed up to camp looking like he spent the entire winter at Burger King.

This has to be concerning to the Red Sox. I know some might say that Sandoval’s weight is no big deal, and that he’ll step up when it matters, like he always does. But the regular season is a long grind, and you have to get to the postseason before you can make an impact there.

You might say that his weight issues didn’t stop the Giants from winning three championships, but Boston is a very different team from San Francisco. The Giants were built on pitching and defense, and getting timely hits when it mattered. That’s the exact recipe of success for a player like Sandoval. The Red Sox, on the other hand, are going to have to have consistent offense all year round to win the AL East. Their pitching just isn’t strong enough to carry a bunch of mediocre hitters throughout the grind of a season in the more offense-centered American League.

If I were the Red Sox, I would tell Sandoval that I expect him to drop 25 pounds by opening day. That gives him around six weeks, which is plenty of time for a professional athlete to drop weight. They have the best equipment and trainers that money can buy.

Boston made a big commitment to Sandoval. It’s time for him to return the favor and show that he’s committed as well.

MLB Offseason Review

Hey everyone, Dan here.

Ever since the San Francisco Giants recorded the final out against the Kansas City Royals in the World Series last year, this date has just been flashing in my head…. April 5th… April 5th….

Despite the winter seeming to drag on forever, the Super Bowl is now over. And that means we are officially on the fast track to baseball’s opening day. But that’s not to say that the winter didn’t produce some real highlights. This was perhaps the most crazy, active, and wild offseason in baseball in the last 20 years. But who put themselves in the best position? Who gutted their team? It’s time for thefoulline.com’s official offseason review!

The Nationals Don’t Need Any More Pitching

So what do you do if you lead Major League Baseball in ERA and get knocked out of the postseason because you scored 9 runs in 4 games? You make upgrading your offense the goal of your offseason, right? Nah, you go out and give Max Scherzer $210 million. The Nationals go with the “you strengthen your strength” approach and it gives them the strongest MLB rotation since the 1995 Atlanta Braves. If they can get anything close to what Bryce Harper and Ryan Zimmerman are capable of, Washington has to be considered the World Series favorite.

The Padres Want to Be Relevant Again

Finish last in the majors in runs? No problem. Add Matt Kemp? Check. Add Justin Upton? Check. Add Wil Myers? Check. The Padres GM gets a gold star for his offseason, taking big steps to rebuild this team and energize a franchise that hasn’t been interesting in a long time. The real kicker here is that they managed to completely rebuild their offense without giving up a single one of their top three prospects. New Padres GM AJ Preller looks to be a rising superstar in the GM ranks.

Cole Hamels Is Still a Phillie… For Now

I expect this to change. The Phillies have nothing to gain from keeping Hamels. They’re easily the worst team in that division, and it would serve them well to get Hamels’s contract off the books and bring in some young talent to fully start their rebuilding process. Add Ryan Howard and Jonathan Papelbon to the list of Phillies players that need new homes in 2015. I still think the Hamels deal gets done. The Phillies will lower their price as the season approaches. Prediction? Hamels is pitching in Fenway Park in 2015.

Billy Beane Has Either Lost His Marbles, or He’s Five Steps Ahead of Everyone

So is Oakland trying to contend, or trying to rebuild? I’m lost here. They trade their best player, Josh Donaldson, for prospects, then turn around and flip their #1 prospect to Tampa Bay for Ben Zobrist. They sign Billy Butler for $30 million, but then flip away Brandon Moss, Jeff Samardzija, and Derrick Norris. I know Billy Beane has entered into the Bill Belichick territory of “trust him no matter what,” but even I can’t figure out what he’s doing. I think I’m gonna go watch Moneyball again.

The Red Sox Retool; the Rays Restock

The two best teams in the AL East in 2013 both tanked to the bottom of the division in 2014. The Red Sox rebuilt their entire rotation and the left side of their infield. I’m not a huge fan of Pablo Sandoval, but leaving AT&T Park can only be good for him. I think Hanley Ramirez loses a lot of his value moving away from shortstop, but there’s no debate, if he’s healthy, his bat will tear up Fenway Park. I don’t think the Red Sox are done. In a division that’s really up for grabs in 2015, a Cole Hamels trade could make the Red Sox favorites to take back the AL East crown.

The Rays dealt away several fan favorites, lost Joe Maddon and Andrew Freidman, and hired the youngest manager in the Major Leagues. But this was necessary. Tampa Bay went all out trying to win a World Championship in 2014, and it failed miserably. Now it’s time to get younger, rebuild the farm, and take a new approach to contending. This will be a down year for the Rays, but they’re not quite in full rebuilding mode yet.

What did your team do this offseason? Are they contenders or pretenders? Let us know what you think of how your team’s winter went. Spring training is right around the corner, and I think 2015 is going to be the best year at thefoulline.com in a long time.

Pitchers and Catchers report in 12 days!

Don’t Come Around Here No More

The following is a guest post by long-lost and much-beloved thefoulline.com contributor, Dylan.

The 2013 fan experience for any sport is like no other that we have seen before. 20 years ago, and even 10 years ago, the act of going to a game beat out the experience of watching it on TV at home any day of the week. Nowadays, I can’t help but wonder why someone would want to leave their house to attend a sporting event. (Unless, of course, that game is a windy spring training game with thefoulline.com crew.)

At home, I can keep up with my fantasy roster, stream the game to my iPhone if I need to take a nature break, and pay less than $10 for a beer. Gone are the days of kids begging Dad to drive an hour into the city so that they can get a glimpse of the players they read about or heard radio announcers applaud. This is the 21st Century!!! No longer is a guys’ night out held at the game, but rather a local sports bar that has a TV the size of a wall. Ownerships need to ask themselves what would draw someone back in for the fan experience.

Two teams that equally need new stadiums are the Tampa Bay Rays (obvious) and the Boston Red Sox (gasp!).

The Tampa Bay Rays need a new stadium more than any team in any sport at any point in history. This is a team that, love ’em or hate ’em, has performed very well the past five years and has a marketable cast of players and a unique and popular manager, along with a seemingly intelligent ownership group. So why can’t this team break out of the bottom third of MLB fan popularity and stop having attendance in the gutter year after year?

The stadium.

An absurd contract with the City of St. Pete has the Rays staying in the Trop until what I believe is the year 2095, but I’m not too good at contractual facts. The City of St. Petersburg commissioners are making every attempt to hold the Rays hostage to their contract, and by doing so are slowly eroding away at any chance the Rays have at climbing out of the attendance cellar. Last time I checked, the dukes and duchesses of St. Pete will not let the Rays ownership speak with Hillsborough County officials. If the Tampa Bay region wants to be part of the baseball world, then talks need to open up across the bay in Tampa.

The Tampa Bay Rays need to be in Downtown Tampa. Tampa has seen a revitalization of sorts, with the Seminole Heights District attracting the middle-aged hipster crowd to its 1920s houses, and Cigar City Brewing helping build a Portland-esque artisan crowd. The Rays ownership could capitalize on the renaissance that Tampa is experiencing by placing the team smack in the city, along the water and near the business of downtown that so desperately needs an attraction within reach. A downtown stadium with a view of the bay would celebrate the waterfront that Florida is known for, could spark a new crop of bars and restaurants in a downtown that is a ghost town after 5pm, and could once and for all start a freshening up of inner-city Tampa that has been forgotten to the ugly urban sprawl outward.

Now, to the more controversial topic. The Red Sox need to get out of Fenway!!! In 1998, I too got caught in the hype of Saving Fenway Park when talks first began about tearing it down and building a new stadium. I hated the idea and I couldn’t stand to see Fenway go. Memories were there for me and always will be. The first time someone walks up the ramp and sees the bright green grass and dark green walls, and feels the intimacy of Fenway, it gives goose bumps. The amazing thing about that feeling is it never goes away. No matter the amount of times someone walks into that stadium, the feeling is there. But what I think tied so many to that stadium was the shared feelings of hurt and letdown that bonded all of New England together. Blame it on the blue-collar spirit of Boston, but pre-2007 (no, not 2004), Red Sox fans knew there was unfinished business and couldn’t let the stadium go away until the job was done.

The Red Sox HAD to win the World Series while playing out of Fenway. It wouldn’t have been right if done otherwise, and they had to do it twice. 2004 may have broke the curse, but 2007 cemented the Red Sox atop the heap in baseball. ’07 proved that ’04 wasn’t a fluke and the Red Sox were to be taken seriously. I wrote a piece about how after 2007 I felt different as a Red Sox fan. At the time I thought the piece was a little ridiculous, but looking back I think I was spot on. The Red Sox did change after 2007. No longer was this “the idiots” or the days of reverse the curse. Boston was all of the sudden a town of winners, that for decades had been lovable losers. The persona that so many Red Sox fans, and to some extent, I think, the players took on was over. Things really did change in 2007.

Now, in 2013, the team is coming off a terrible year and the image of the Sox has gone from the lovable idiots that wouldn’t give up in 2004 to spoiled grown men that eat chicken and drink beer. This is why Fenway needs to go. The era of the Curse is over. The story of 2004 will live on forever but it’s time for the Red Sox to build a new image, a cleaner image, one that celebrates what Boston is now and embraces a new era. A move out of Fenway could mean a new stadium on the waterfront by either Pier 4 or Long Wharf. A new stadium that could incorporate the North End, Fanueil Hall, the waterfront, and the growing pop-culture popularity of South Boston. Red Sox fans don’t need to look toward a past filled with curses and a broke-down stadium anymore, it’s time to celebrate the team, and to a greater extent, the City of Boston.

Blowin’ In the Wind

My good friend Dylan – original thefoulline.com fantasy league member and Foul Line contributor – and I have a tradition where we go to at least one spring training game a year. This has been going on for several years, and it’s always a great time. The thing about going to a game with Dylan is that something crazy/fun/outlandish happens every time. That, and I’m pretty certain that we’ve never witnessed a Red Sox victory. During the years of going to games with Dylan, some of the highlights have been seeing the two Red Sox World Series trophies and getting great pictures with them, getting interviewed by MLB.tv, the Jed Lowrie foul ball game, meeting Nick from the Penalty Box bar in Rhode Island, the Great Ellsbury Birthplace Debate, and meeting Dewayne Staats. But today’s game may have been the craziest. Today’s game will be known as “the one where we almost watched someone die.”

The best thing about going to a game with Dylan is the constant banter. All the topics are covered: baseball, personal lives, politics, travel, The Foul Line. It’s always witty, and I’m constantly laughing. It makes for a great baseball viewing experience. A few weeks back, Dylan texted me and asked if I wanted to go see the Sox and Cardinals play on February 26th at jetBlue Park in Fort Myers. He was going to get standing-room-only Green Monster tickets. Of course I was in.

I picked him up at his house for the five-minute drive to the park. Upon getting to the stadium an hour and a half early, we noticed a strong 30-mph wind blowing straight out to center field. It was going to be a bad day to be a pitcher. Dylan grabbed a sausage & pepper sandwich with a Sam Adams. I opted for the Fenway Frank and a 312 wheat beer, and we made our way to the top of the Green Monster. The thing about jetBlue Park is that that everyone working there is a prick. I didn’t see one person smile the entire day. They’re working at a beautiful stadium, watching the most beloved team in all of sports, and they treat everyone like they’re wearing an “I love George Steinbrenner” shirt. It’s bizarre.

Anyhow, Dylan and I grabbed a spot on the wall and started watching the Cardinals take batting practice. Balls just started launching out of the park. Texas-Leaguers were carrying in the monsoon-like winds. At this point, more and more people were making their way to the top of the Monster with hopes of catching a BP ball.

It was the typical crowd: the 45-year-old dude who brought his mitt and was chasing down every ball with Jim Edmonds-like enthusiasm; the dad with his kids trying to score two souvenirs for his baseball-loving boys; the middle-aged woman who flinches and ducks at any ball that hints at hitting the wall; and Dylan and me, eating our food, sipping our beer, and watching ball after ball fly over our heads.

As the Cardinals were wrapping up their batting practice, some unknown player started crushing balls over the wall, one after another. The souvenir-baseball feeding frenzy was in full effect. People were chasing down balls like they were the Wonka Bar golden tickets. Dylan and I continued to watch and take it all in.

As Mr. Unknown was winding down his impressive power display, he launched one more ball high over the wall. As the ball carried, it appeared to be hit so well that it was going to leave the entire stadium. At the last minute, an overaggressive ball-hound jumped up for the ball and began to tumble over the rail to a 25-foot fall. When he was half way over the wall and on his way down to certain peril, the 45-year-old, with his mitt still on, dove and grabbed the guy’s legs, saving him from having a really bad day. It was the best and most important catch of the day.

This led to me saying to Dylan, “Damn, that guy almost died!”

To which he replied, “And that’s why I don’t chase after BP balls.”

And here are your Dylan-centric Quick Hits

  • Due to predicted lousy weather, both teams put all their scrubs in the starting lineups. When Daniel Nava is the big name, you might be in for a snoozer.
  • The experience of watching a game from the vantage point of the top of the Green Monster is unparalleled to any seat at any sporting event I have ever had. I highly recommend it.
  • Sox starting pitcher Ryan Dempster was on the mound today. With the scrubs backing him up in the field, Dylan commented that he hoped Dempster had his Eh game. You know, because he’s Canadian. It’s funny, eh?
  • There are fewer things I enjoy more than a Fenway frank, a cold beer, and watching baseball.
  • Dylan was able to turn two standing-room-only tickets into two prime seats on the monster, just by being in the right place at the right time.
  • (For the confused Rays fans, “Standing Room Only” seats are when your team sells all the seats at your park, and your only option is to stand.)
  • 312 beer is poured using an old telephone receiver tap. I’m not sure why, but it was awesome.
  • We’re still waiting for the final three spots to get filled on thefoulline.com fantasy league. Clock’s ticking.
  • I’m returning to the Yankeehaters team name. It was fun being the Boston badboys for a season, but the Yankeehaters just feels right.

Thanks to all for reading! The baseball draft is ONLY 4 weeks away! Start prepping now.

Follow @thefoulline on Twitter.

Not Ready to Make Nice

After a disastrous 2012 season, the Red Sox owners added some character guys on the tail end of their careers. In an effort to make the team more likable, Sox owners signed Ryan Dempster – great Harry Caray impersonator, got shelled in Texas last year; Shane Victorino and his .255 batting average; Mike Napoli and his two necrotic hips.

But the the most egregious signing of all was Johnny freakin’ Gomes! What the hell was that all about? How can Gomes ever get cheered at Fenway after his sucker punching and hair pulling of Coco Crisp in the bottom of the “fight” pile? I can understand defending your teammates, but what I can’t comprehend is having this orangutan patrol left field in Fenway Park. I’ve disliked a lot of players in my time, but it’d be hard to find anyone I dislike more than Gomes. But what the hell… It’s only $10 million, and he’s all ours for two seasons.

Quick hits:

  • Speaking of that fight… Does anyone wonder if Coco and James Shields have ever thrown a punch in their collective lives? Whiff… whiff!
  • I still hate the Rays, but I’m interested to see Wil Myers play.
  • I’m making a return to the Rays Opening Day game. Last year’s Rays vs. Yanks game was one of the best I have ever seen live.
  • I’ll be not-so-secretly hoping that the Cleveland Indians do well this season. I’m still a huge Francona fan.
  • I’ll be not-so-secretly hoping that Bobby Valentine contracts syphilis. I still can’t stand that guy.
  • Am I the only one that feels sorry for Houston Astro Carlos Pena? They are by far the worst team in MLB. Moving to the American League is not going to help.
  • It’s my tradition to buy a new Red Sox hat before the start of every season. I might skip it this year. I’m really starting to dislike the Sox ownership.
  • The word around Red Sox camp is that John Lackey is in great shape. They’re also reporting that he’s still a mouth breather.
  • I made the decision a few weeks ago that I was going to cut back on Spring Training games this year. Next thing I know, Dylan hooks us up with Sox vs. Cardinals. Followed by my brother scoring Sox vs. Rays. Then the October Boy asks me to go to the Rays vs. Phillies. Followed by my buddy Nate getting Tigers vs. Mets tix. Suddenly, my spring is looking up!
  • I really, really hope Ryan Braun isn’t a juicer. But I think he is.
  • AL East final 2013 standings: 1. Blue Jays, 2. Rays, 3. Yankees, 4. Red Sox, 5. Orioles
  • What are your thoughts on a 12-team league? Does that interest anyone?

Well, that’s two posts in two days… Is it baseball season yet?

Under Pressure

I was planning to write a post after the Red Sox won their 2011 season opener. When that didn’t pan out, I figured I would write something after they squeezed out a victory or two against the Rangers.

Didn’t happen.

The good news was that the Sox were heading to AL Central-doormat Cleveland, and so were all but guaranteed to get this World Series season back on track. We all know how that series went.

So at this point, I figured I should just write something before Boston ends up 0-162.

Am I worried that the Red Sox are 0-6? I honestly don’t think it’s big deal. Yet. They have a great lineup. They have a quality pitching staff with a solid history. These guys know how to win, and they will win this year… a lot.

The Sox players are well aware of how the offseason went, with Gonzalez, Crawford, Jenks, and Wheeler added to an already potent lineup. Every news source from the Boston Globe to the Sheboygan Daily Reader was picking Boston to win 95+ games and cruise towards another championship. The players know they now have a responsibility to live up to their fans’ expectations as well as the owners’ commitment to putting a great team on the field. They’re putting a ton of pressure on themselves to win. Every at bat is critical, so bats are getting squeezed a little too tight. Every pitch has to be a strike, so balls are getting overthrown. All of this is having a negative impact on their performance.

The Sox return to Boston today after being away from their homes since February. I think a little home cooking is just what they need. Of course, if Boston gets swept this weekend by the damn Yankees, I’m going to jump off the Sunshine Skyway.

(On the other hand, I totally think that the Rays are going to lose 162 games this year. They kind of stink.)

Go Sox!

I’m So Excited

I have never been more excited for a baseball season to begin.

After suffering through a tumultuous 2010 season, filled with injuries and unfulfilled expectations, the offseason for the Boston Red Sox has been just what the doctor ordered. Boston made the two biggest splashes of the year by trading their top prospects for Adrian Gonzalez and his perfectly-suited-for-Fenway Park swing, and signing Red Sox-killer Carl Crawford to a ridiculous 7-year contract.

I absolutely love the additions. These are two high-character hard workers that make Boston a lot more exciting. The reality about the 2010 Sox was that they were a bit boring to watch. Players grinding out at bats is productive, but I want to see the shock and awe of Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury stealing bases, coupled with Gonzalez, Youkilis and Big Papi knocking bombs.

I couldn’t care less that Boston is shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars in player salaries. I just bought a Red Sox hat that cost 35 bucks, and I’m happy to see the Boston owners putting it back into the team. And I don’t buy that they’re starting to resemble the Yankees, who think they can buy a World Series. Pedroia, Youkilis, Lester, Buchholz, and Ellsbury are all homegrown and are still the heart of this team.

There has been a ton of speculation on what the new and improved batting order is going to be. Is Ellsbury leading off? Is the lineup too left handed? Where should Crawford hit? What a great problem to have. They could put all nine names into a hat and pull them out in any order and still win 90 games. David Ortiz is leading off? Whatever.

Of course, Terry Francona is a lot smarter than I am, and he has a ton of lineup options depending on the opposing pitcher. But, if it were up to me, here’s what I’d do.

  1. Ellsbury
  2. Pedroia
  3. Crawford
  4. Gonzalez
  5. Youkilis
  6. Ortiz
  7. Drew
  8. Saltalamacchia
  9. Scutaro

I’ll put this lineup up against anyone. Patience, speed, and power throughout. Is this a 95+ wins team positioned for a playoff run? As long as they stay healthy, I’m pretty confident that it is.

The 2011 baseball season starts in 30 days… I guess we’ll start answering some of these questions then.

A Change Is Gonna Do Me Good

Change is important. The prospect of change is what led to Barack Obama becoming our 44th president. And when it came to the off-season for the Boston Red Sox, change was very good.

I love the improvements that Theo Epstein made to his lineup. Say goodbye to Jason Bay, Billy Wagner, Takashi Saito, and Alex Gonzalez. Au revoir to seeing Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek as everyday players. It’s time to say hello to the new guys that are going to lead the Red Sox to the 2010 World Series.

John Lackey

The best available pitcher on the market is now locked up for five years in Boston. Lackey is a bulldog that will give the Sox another #1 pitcher that will win 15+ games and throw 200 innings. A trio of Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and John Lackey has to scare the crap out of the New York Yankees. Great move.

Marco Scutaro

Here’s a guy that defends his position well, hits for average, steals a few bases, and solidifies the shortstop position until Jose Iglesias is ready, hopefully in two years.

Mike Cameron

37-year-old centerfielders aren’t usually my cup of tea, but the word around MLB is that Cameron is a great clubhouse guy, plays Gold Glove defense, and has a swing tailor-made for smacking doubles off the Green Monster. He’ll be another bridge for the Sox young outfielders.

Adrian Beltre

This guy didn’t hit his weight last year, fractured one of his testicles (doesn’t wear a cup), and was rumored to be asking for a 5-year, $65 million free-agent contract. Boston landed him on a 1-year, $10 million deal. He’ll be a huge improvement defensively over the aging Mike Lowell. He plays a sick 3rd base and has a laser-rocket arm. I think he’ll hit 25 homeruns, bat .270 and win the Gold Glove.

The great thing about these moves is that it didn’t cost Boston any of its prospects. If these moves falter, Theo Epstein still has the resources to make a significant deal at the trade deadline.

Pitching and defense wins championships. Boston is poised to win another one.

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

I enjoy watching the NFL for about three weeks, then I’m bored out of my mind.

I couldn’t care less if Brett Favre plays another year or which Manning is going to the Super Bowl. I’m tired of running backs running into the butts of their offensive lineman and quarterbacks with their special “do not hit” rules. I’ll watch the Superbowl, but believe me, I’m counting down the days until Spring Training.

There are people that complain that the baseball season is too long. These people are either communists or Pittsburgh Pirate fans. I’m all for extending the season another 30 games. I’ll gladly take 200 games of baseball over 16 weeks of football.

So here it is, the Top 22 reasons that baseball is the best sport around (in no particular order).

  1. The Boston Red Sox – America’s Team. Some may dispute this, but they are wrong. Boston is the model franchise in MLB – good farm system, an ownership not afraid to spend money, players that stay out of the police blotter. Always in contention. Tradition. Fenway Park. Yankee fans can suck it.
  2. Getting to the park early to watch batting practice.
  3. Manicured fields and the smell of freshly cut grass. Well, maybe not at Tropicana Field.
  4. Fantasy baseball is a thousand times better than fantasy anything else.
  5. Watching the game, eating a hotdog, drinking a cold beer.
  6. Very few face painters in the stands.
  7. If you act like a jackass after hitting a home run, you get nailed in the back your next at bat. Meanwhile, football players celebrate every tackle like they just cured cancer.
  8. Red Sox vs. Yankees
  9. Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer, two great examples of professionalism and loyalty to their teams.
  10. Winning the All-Star game actually means something. Why is the Pro-Bowl even televised? It blows.
  11. Breaking up the double play.
  12. Having the balls to try to steal home.
  13. Walk-off home runs
  14. I know they’re jackasses, but I really like Joe Buck and Tim McCarver calling the Fox Saturday afternoon game.
  15. The Rays going from worst to first in one season.
  16. Players not talking to the pitcher throwing a no-hitter.
  17. Every elite closer having their own walk-in music from the bullpen.
  18. You hit one of my stars, I hit one of yours.
  19. MLB trading deadline, the most exciting day of the year.
  20. Buying a new Red Sox hat every year.
  21. The hit-and-run
  22. The double switch

This list could be a thousand lines long. Baseball is awesome.

Pitcher and catchers report in 20 days!