Saturday, March 29, 2008

The North American Major League Baseball season starts tomorrow night with the Braves and Nationals christening the new Nationals Park in Washington. I thought I'd mention a few non-Red Sox related stories I would be following this season.

Will success spoil the Rockies? Before they went on their cosmic run in September and October, Colorado was a 4th place team in the NL West. Was last year a fluke, or can they make another playoff run? Actually, the NL West should be a lot of fun to watch. The Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Padres and Rockies should all compete for the division title.

Are the Rays, Royals and Pirates finally moving in the right direction? It's been a long time since they have had really competitive teams in Kansas City and Pittsburgh, and they have never had one in Tampa. However, it appears that these teams are finally moving in the right direction by building their farm systems. They are all starting to see the fruits of those investments. I don't expect any of these teams to compete this year, but it should be fun to see them get better and maybe become legitimate threats in the next 2-3 years.

What about the Braves? Most people seem to be picking the Santana fortified Mets or the defending champion Phillies to win the NL East, but I think the Braves have a decent shot. Tim Hudson is a very good pitcher, and I think the old guys, Smoltz and Glavine, are going to have pretty good seasons. The offense looks like it could be pretty impressive as well. The Braves could be a dark horse team to watch.

Will there be 200 losses in the Bay Area? With a rebuilding A's team and an aging, Bonds-less Giants team, it could be a long summer for San Francisco Bay Area fans. I think both teams have too much pitching to be 100 game losers, but a couple of key injuries could change that in a hurry.


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