The time has come to buy your overpriced tickets, spend $8 on the palest beer ever and sit in some very uncomfortable seats. Baseball season is upon us. Although a lot has happened behind the scenes that has affected the sport in the last three months, I still believe this is one great sport.
I look forward to seeing some monumental catches, blown calls from umpires, walk-off home runs and the obligatory manager meltdown.
Who doesn't love to see that?
I want to break a couple of scenarios down, and unlike I did with my March Madness breakdown, I am going to man up and make my World Series pick.
1 - Do the Colorado Rockies have what it takes to make the World Series again?
Why not? There are three things that are guaranteed in life - death, taxes, and the Kansas City Royals not making a playoff run.
What the Rockies did in the final stretch of the regular season was awe-inspiring. What looked impossible with them down 5 1/2 games behind with just two weeks to go in the Wild Card race was possible with the offensive strength of Colorado. They won 14 of their last 15 games to reach the playoffs.
You could not have asked for a better story than that. Matt Holliday, Troy Tulowitski, Brad Hawpe and Todd Helton all became household names, and if they continue to knock balls out of the park, along with some solid pitching, they could be a threat again this year.
2 - Is Johan Santana the missing piece of the New York Mets puzzle?
Didn't you just want to give a hug to the Mets after they let a large lead slip away from them to miss out on the playoffs?
When I found out about the Mets spending nearly $138 million for Santana to play for them in the next six years, I had to wonder if it is worth it.
Santana is one of the most consistent pitchers in Major League Baseball. Plus he strikes out batters like his life depends on it with at least 230 Ks in the last four seasons.
It's not that the Mets needed some extra help. With players like Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and David Wright, the New York Mets just ran into some bad luck. Adding Santana to a pitching line-up that includes John Maine and Pedro Martinez could make them a contender for the World Series.
3 - It's been 100 years. Is this the year for the Chicago Cubs?
Let me start with how cute that sounds. It's always enjoyable to see Cubbie fans everywhere on their knees hoping and praying that this will be their year.
However, in the National League Central, it's pretty much fair game for anybody.
Arguably the weakest division in baseball, it's competitive all the way until the end of the season.
Last year it was a dogfight between the Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals and the Cubs. Chicago came up on top, but hit rock bottom against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the Divisional Round.
Without Mark Prior, who was more of a burden than a superstar, the Cubs just might make enough noise, especially with former ace Kerry Wood as their official closer.
With a stacked offense including Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano, a healthy Chicago team could become contenders…could.
4 - Are the Detroit Tigers for real?
I'm not going to hold back on this one. I think the Tigers might have the best starting pitchers in the league. Jeremy Bonderman, Justin Verlander, Dontrelle Willis, Kenny Rogers and Nate Robertson could be the most intimidating rotation in the league.
Not only that, the Tigers have a lot of power at the plate. This lineup is a manager's dream. You have Ivan Rodriguez, Placido Polanco, Carlo Guillen, Gary Sheffield, Magglio Ordonez and the additions of Edgar Renteria and Miguel Cabrera. There's no reason, whatsoever, that this team shouldn't make it into the playoffs.
The Tigers are for real and I am hoping to God that there will not be any egg on my face. This team is built not to sink. However, they said the same about the Titanic.
5 - Who is going to the World Series and who is going to win?
Last season, I nailed it by saying the Boston Red Sox would win it all. Mission accomplished. However, I said their opponents would be the St. Louis Cardinals.
Can the Red Sox pull it out again? Of course it's possible. They have outstanding batting power that includes Mike Lowell, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Along with a great pitching staff, minus Curt Schilling, and a sick closer from the marginally insane Jonathan Papelbon, Boston can repeat again, but I think they may fall short.
I am set on Detroit facing the Arizona Diamondbacks. I have already stated my peace about the Tigers and how good I expect them to be, but the Diamondbacks just need just a little extra push after getting owned by the Rockies in the National League Championship Series.
Brandon Webb and Dan Haren could be the 1-2 punch that Arizona needs on the mound to make some noise. And although Randy Johnson may be fighting Father Time, if he stays healthy he could strike batters out left and right.
Between both teams, I will jump off the bridge and say the Tigers will be the 2008 World Series champs.
I am ready for another long and enduring season and I am hoping that my Houston Astros can make it to at least .500.
Hey, if the Cubs dream big, why can't I?
Juan Carlos Reyes is a sports reporter for the Record Star. Readers may contact him at 361-387-4511 or via email at email@example.com.