It’s Baseball Time in America

I haven’t really written much about baseball yet, and the season is now just over a week old. I’m not sure why I haven’t, because it’s the third love of my life. Only third, you say? Well, at the risk of being cliche, God is first, my family second, and then baseball. Occasionally, I lose perspective and baseball gets more important than family, at which point my wife slaps me up side the head and sets me straight. And on the rare occasion that baseball gets more important than God, all of my livestock and crops die, my town is invaded by Midianite raiders, my house is burned down, and my wife and children are sold into slavery.

Just kidding. That’s never really happened. Yet.

Okay. So. The season is just over a week old. April 1 was opening day for most teams. Several teams cheated and had opening day on March 31. I’m not sure who let that happen! I’d like a word with them, please.

As anyone who knows me at all knows, I am an adamant Red Sox fan. Which means that, at this point in the 2011 season, I have pulled out what little hair that I have left, because the Sox are off to their worst start since 1945 or something like that. They lost 6 straight games (swept by both the Texas Rangers and the Cleveland Indians)(REALLY?? The Indians??), and finally got their first win at the home opener, at the expense of the hated Yankees. So it wasn’t all bad, then, was it? But then they lost the second game against the Evil Empire, 9-4. But order was restored, because they won a game, and now there are no teams that are winless, because the Devil Rays won their first game the same day the Red Sox did. So…as of 2pm on Sunday afternoon, April 10, the Red Sox are 1-7 on the season.

While all this was going on, other weird things were happening. The Orioles of Baltimore went 5-0. The Texas Rangers (of which I am also a fan) went 6-0. That, in itself, was not terribly strange, because they are, essentially, the same team they were at the end of the 2010 season. But included in that 6-0 was a sweep of the Red Sox, followed by a sweep of the Mariners, who had also started out fairly strong. To add to the weirdness, the KC Royals started out 4-1, and are currently 1 game out of first, behind…the Cleveland Indians! Well. More surprises. What a topsy-turvy season start, this is! Boston and Tampa tied for last (Boston is ahead because “B” comes before “T”). Twins and Tigers tied for last in the Central. The AL West really has never had an established order, which is why people affectionately refer to it as the AL “Worst.” But, as of right now, the Rangers are 7-1, the best team in baseball.

The Rangers got to Baltimore for Friday night’s game, only to have it postponed by rain. They had a double-header yesterday, and were handed their first loss of the season, 5-0, at the hands of what appears to be a really fine young pitcher from Weatherford, Texas, Zach Britton. Late in the game, the Rangers had managed to only hit 5 balls in the air. Everything else was grounders. So, I salute you, Zach Britton. You shut down one the best-hitting teams in the MLB. (Currently 6th in the majors on batting average.) But the Rangers came back and whomped the O’s 13-1 in game two, hitting 3 more home runs in the process. Today, in the top of the 8th inning, the Rangers are blanking the O’s 3-0, all runs being scored on home runs again, a solo shot by Adrian Beltre and a 2-run shot by Ian Kinsler. It’s been a good pitcher’s duel, with Derek Holland having a fantastic outing.

Tonight’s game between the Red Sox and Evil Empire will be telecast on ESPN, which I really don’t like, because that means I probably have to listen to Joe Morgan, who I admired as a player, but despise as a broadcaster. Besides, as we all know, ESPN worships the very ground upon which Derek Jeter walks. In fact, I won’t be surprised when the day comes in which they simply show a picture of Jeter on the screen while they talk about the game in the background.

Oh, and one last thing. Manny retired. Everyone knows that by now, so it’s not exactly news. He tested positive for drugs during Spring Training, so, rather than face another suspension, he just quit. That makes me sad, for more than one reason. I still kind of liked Manny, even though he got really, really weird by the the time his tenure with the Sox ended. But he’s done. He said he’s going to Spain with his “old man.” I suspect we will never hear from him again.

“What about the National League?” you might be asking. There aren’t any big surprises in the NL. Phillies are already up in the East, with the Nationals in last, where they live. The Reds are up in the Central, with the sad, sad Astros bringing up the rear (also 1-7 along with the Sox and the Rays…). The NL West is a little different…Rockies are .5 game up on the Dodgers, with last year’s World Series winners playing a measly .500 at the beginning.

So there you have it. A quick recap of the beginning of the 2011 baseball season. It’s a long season. Only one week. The Sox have time to rally. Hopefully, they won’t bat .215 as a team much longer.

TTFN, y’all!

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