The columns always come this time of year. The celebrations of baseball’s return, somewhere in which each writer must suggest that Opening Day1 should be declared a national holiday so no one has to miss their favorite team’s opener.

Apparently whoever makes the schedule at St. P’s is a baseball fan, because M. and C. were off yesterday. Oh, some of you might suggest that the combination of Easter Monday and a Catholic school had more to do with it. But I know the truth. The good folks in the office wanted to make sure they, and the kids, could all watch the Cubs or Reds or whoever play uninterrupted yesterday.

In this endless winter2 it felt very good to fire up MLB.TV on the Mac and MLB At Bat later in the day on the iPad and iPhone to follow games. I watched some of the Marlins-Nationals game early, somehow missing both Bryce Harper home runs, and then listened to much of the Royals-White Sox game. We went out for dinner and after returning I was able to watch the final two innings of the 13-inning contest between the Angels and Reds on our local FSN affiliate. After that I caught a couple innings of the Phillies-Braves on ESPN and then watched the first inning of the Cardinals-Diamondbacks before heading to bed. That, my friends, is a good day.

I’d love to write that this was the season in which the Royals are finally going to break through. But, as I wrote after the big trade with Tampa back in December, I don’t think they’ve made the right moves since last season. They will be better, yes. But between their schedule, which is incredibly tough for the first 2+ months of the season, and the truth that they are still far behind the true contenders of the American League, I think it’s going to ultimately be a frustrating year. They may win more games than they’ve won in 20 years, but I don’t think it will be enough to crack the post-season.

And now my obligatory, barely researched picks for who will be playing in the post-season next October.

American League

East: Tampa Bay
Central: Detroit
West: Texas
Wild Cards: Anaheim, Toronto

Toronto over Anaheim
Detroit over Toronto
Tampa Bay over Texas
Tampa Bay over Detroit

National League

East: Washington
Central: Cincinnati
West: Los Angeles
Wild Cards: Atlanta and St. Louis

Atlanta over St. Louis
Washington over Atlanta
Cincinnati over Los Angeles
Washington over Cincinnati

World Series

Washington over Tampa Bay

Who would have expected that to be a reasonable pick five years ago?

  1. And, as every writer must point out, Opening Day must be capitalized. 
  2. It barely nudged into the 40s here yesterday, and there is still a big pile of snow out in our front yard from last week’s plowing. But I can’t complain about the weather since we fled town twice this season.