Opening Day Musings
Always tempting for fans to overreact to Opening Day
Despite coinciding with the final day of March Madness, Opening Day in baseball was still the talk of the day for many sports fans yesterday, as it usually is. Opening Day is the only time that fans of cellar-dwelling teams can look at the standings and see their team on par with the beheamoths of baseball. One month from now, we'll start to get an idea of the real deals and surely by then, a few flashes in the pan will have finally come back down to earth and we won't hear from them for a while, or possibly forever.
Basically what I'm saying is, it's never a good idea to take '''too''' much stock in what happens in your team's first game.
However, there were a few things that happened yesterday that I think could be causes for concern or causes for optimism, and I'll outline one of each of those now.
One of the biggest storylines was the Yankee debuts of CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira. Sabathia got lit up pretty good by the O's (sidenote: a premium example of a team not to get excited about despite the nice win), while Teixeira's bat was silenced. I see Teix being a dominant piece of the Yankee lineup this season, but Sabathia is the one I'm really concerned about for Yankees fans. The guy has a track record of dominant regular seasons and, for the most part, ''atrocious'' postseason numbers. A plus-7 ERA in the playoffs is a huge concern, especially considering that the pressure is always 100 times magnified in the Bronx. The Yankees will be fine this season, and Sabathia could put together 18+ wins, but if he can't compete against the Orioles on Opening Day, do you trust him facing much tougher competition with much greater pressure in October?
On the flip side, here's something that happened on Opening Day that I think will be indicative of a breakout player in the 2009 season, and that's Florida's Emilio Bonifacio. Sure, his line of 4-5 with an inside-the-park homer and 3 stolen bases yesterday is ridiculous and likely to never be repeated again, but in Bonifacio we're talking about a guy who has sole possession of 3B while leading off for a team with a couple of nice hitters behind him in Han-Ram and Uggla and Cantu. He's got all the speed in the world, so if he can consistently get on base, he could be a threat to steal 50 or 60 bases this season. I had heard of him as I was prepping for the WVBR Fantasy Baseball Draft, and if nothing else, if you need steals in your fantasy league, add the dude...plenty of upside, with minimal risk if he doesn't pan out since he's eligible at the thin 2B position as well.
Alright, now I have to go cry, because I'm not taking my own advice...after seeing my Indians get drubbed 9-1 by Texas yesterday and "ace" Cliff Lee getting rocked as he has throughout the spring, I'm ''already'' giving up on the season!