Here it comes. In fact, it actually started yesterday. That's right. MLB is upon us, whether you like it or not. Sticky pine tar, watered down beer, four hour plus Sox\Yankee games, some of the worst sporting commentary in organised sports, $2,500 seats behind home plate at Yankee stadium, and those horrific new Miami Marlins uniforms.
Thankfully it's not all bad. There are plenty of reasons to be excited and delighted about the upcoming MLB season. And, as the title implied, here are 25 of them.
25. Mike, or should we say, Giancarlo Stanton.
24. This new look Anaheim Angels squad should be pretty interesting to say the least. Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson are obviously the marquee additions, but what about Kendry Morales coming back from a lost season due to injury? Mark Trumbo is going to hit a lot of long balls, and what's Jered Weaver going to do for an encore to his scintillating 2011 season?
23. Justin Verlander.
22. Jose Reyes batting in front of Hanley Ramirez.
21. Prince Fielder playing in Detroit - Just a hunch really, but once the city of Detroit gets its loving arms around this affable character, it may never, ever let go. Particularly if he does this a couple of times.
20. Maybe we will get lucky and A-Rod will take more pictures like this
19. Four Wild Card teams. No, you heard that right, four. In case you missed it, instead of the old two Wild Card system, MLB will be implementing a new four team format for 2012 and going forward. I am sure there are all sorts of archaic old monoliths out there ranting and raving about 'tradition' and what not, but by the time the playoffs start, most of us will love this move.
18. Mr. Jonathon Papelbon closing games in Philadelphia. Luckily for Papelbon, the good citizens of Phillies nation are a shy, retiring sort. Patient to a man, they will no doubt continue to applaud and support Papelbon even after the hairiest of blown saves. Take for example the end to the Red Sox season. If Papelbon does that (blows the save against the Orioles and with it the season) the Phillies fans will no doubt groan a little, but this will undoubtedly be followed by a polite round of applause for the effort put forth. My keyboard just melted from sarcasm.
17. The Muddy Chicken doin' work.
16. The fact that someone, somewhere out there, is about to hit a walk off home run, and it about to get all crazy up in here.
15. Lester\Beckett\Bucholz, Hallady\Lee\Hamels, Lincecum\Cain\Bumgarner. Three of the finest front-threes in the Majors.
14. Joba Chamberlin's next stunt.
13. Buster Posey back in action after a year lay off from injury. Posey figures to be one of the more exciting up and coming young players for the next couple of seasons. Word on the proverbial street is he will hit the ground running.
12. Saturday afternoon to evening to night triple headers live on TV (In Ireland too!!)
11. Jamie Moyer, aged 49, pitching in the majors
10. Red Sox v Yankees (even if it takes 4 hours to complete)
9. The Chicago Cubs, possibly the best supported club in all of baseball (in terms of loyalty and support despite relative failure), have just as good a chance as anyone at winning the World Series. Until the season actually starts, of course.
8. Fenway franks
7. MLB TV on the PS3 (It is absolutely awesome)
6. Star Wars baseball
5. The first time you back a player in running to hit the next home run, he steps to the plate, takes a ball outside, then blasts the next pitch 435 feet over the left field bleachers.
4. Rex Ryan has nothing to do with baseball.
3. Bryce Harper - coming soon to a 500 foot home run near you. Harper might start the season in the minors, but expect a Tebow like fervour to get him up to the bigs. The kid can flat out rake.
2. The first no hitter of the 2012 season.
1. Because there is every chance the new Red Sox manager might just be their craziest one yet. Doubt it for even half a second? Well, check this out.