Mar 05, 2012 in Sports/Entertainment. 0 Comment
With the opening games of the 2012 Major League Baseball season just around the corner, spring training is in full swing. While the players are working out their plays and runs, fans across the nation are predicting and fantasizing about the season ahead and the games to come.
Japan Opening Series
On March 28, 2012 the first game of the MLB 2012 season will open in Tokyo, Japan, with the Oakland Athletics stepping up to the plate against the Seattle Mariners. At the 2012 Japan Opening Series the League hopes to bring baseball to fans in all parts of the world. The Oakland A’s signed on veteran slugger Manny Ramirez even though he won’t be able to play until well into the season. Before he retired prematurely in 2011, Ramirez failed a test for performance enhancing drugs. Now that he’s signed back on to play with the Oakland A’s, Ramirez will have to serve his 50-game ban. This year will be his twentieth year as a professional baseball player.
On the opposite side of the country, the New York Yankees have signed a $1.1 million contract with the free agent Raul Ibanez. Looking for designated hitters, the Yankees have been in talks with Ibanez for weeks. After letting A.J. Burnett go, the Yankees finally had the purse to seriously pursue Ibanez for their batter lineup.
The team favored to win the 2012 World Series are the Philadelphia Phillies. During the offseason, Jonathan Papelbon signed a 4-year $50 million contract with the Phillies. The pitcher just transferred from the Boston Red Sox, so he’s accustomed to high pressure stakes and high expectations for himself and his team. The Phillies enter the 2012 season as the team to beat in the National League East division. They’ve not had a problem getting into the playoffs since they won the Series title in 2008. The challenge for Philies manager Charlie Manuel is whether or not the Phillies can make it to the World Series and then win it. With Papelbon’s experience as the pitcher for the 2007 Boston Red Sox World Series Champions, the Phillies have a good chance to create a championship team.
The Cleveland Indians are another team to watch in the upcoming season. After a poor finish in 2011, the managers and team members are revved up to give it another shot. Many of the players faced injuries in the past season, which dampened their performance. The entire starting outfield, including two starting pitchers and four of their most consistent hitters—Shin-Soo Choo, Travis Hafner, Grady Sizemore and Asdrubal Cabrera—went down with injuries one after another in what seemed like a single file line. The Indians are counting on Sizemore and Choo, both of whom have re-signed for the 2012 season looking to bounce back from last year’s injuries.
Minor League Hopefuls
Major League Baseball is not just for veteran players, as Bryce Harper and Anthony Rendon have proved. Just 21 years old, Rendon was picked in the first round by the Washington Nationals. A reserved player, Rendon wants to patiently acquaint himself to the Majors and the lifestyle of a professional baseball player. His manager thinks he’s got All-Star capacity which is why he’s willing to take a chance with such a young player. Similar in age yet opposite in disposition, Harper is just 19 years old and itching to be a major league player for the Nationals. Critics claim that his immaturity and lack of experience in professional baseball make him prone to questionable judgment.