It's two in the morning. I'm watching Major League. It's Opening Day. As the great Lou Brown said:
All right people, we got 10 minutes 'till game time, let's all gather 'round. I'm not much for giving inspirational addresses, but I'd just like to point out that every newspaper in the country has picked us to finish last. The local press seems to think that we'd save everyone the time and trouble if we just went out and shot ourselves. Me, I'm for wasting sportswriters' time. So I figured we ought to hang around for a while and see if we can give 'em all a nice big shitburger to eat!
I say we need a sense of humor about this season. Be ready to let it wash over you, unless things start seeming truly dire, like the kids can't play and nothing at all ever goes right.
But for a little while, for Opening Day, let's have some fun. Let's go O's!
(I'm going to abstain from fancy lineup stuff this year, for the record. I've just decided against it.)
RAYS STARTING LINEUP
Starting Pitcher: James Shields, RH (3.85/1.11, 12-8)
- Akinori Iwamura, 2B (.285/.359/.411, 7, 34)
Carl Crawford, LF (.315/.355/.466, 11, 80, 50 SB)
Carlos Pena, 1B (.282/.411/.627, 46, 121)
B.J. Upton, CF (.300/.386/.508, 24, 82)
Cliff Floyd, DH (.284/.373/.422, 9, 45)
Willie Aybar, 3B (.280/.364/.403, 4, 30)
Eric Hinske, RF (.204/.317/.398, 6, 21)
Dioner Navarro, C (.227/.286/.356, 9, 44)
Jason Bartlett, SS (.265/.339/.361, 5, 43)
Starting Pitcher: Jeremy Guthrie, RH (3.70/1.21, 7-5)
- Brian Roberts, 2B (.290/.377/.432, 12, 57, 50 SB)
- Melvin Mora, 3B (.274/.341/.418, 14, 58)
- Nick Markakis, RF (.300/.362/.485, 23, 112)
- Kevin Millar, 1B (.254/.365/.420, 17, 63)
- Aubrey Huff, DH (.280/.337/.442, 15, 72)
- Ramon Hernandez, C (.258/.333/.382, 9, 62)
- Luke Scott, LF (.255/.351/.504, 18, 64)
- Adam Jones, CF (.246/.300/.400, 2, 4)
- Luis Hernandez, SS (.290/.300/.362, 1, 7)
The Rays are doing a RF platoon with Hinske (who is rumored to be on the trade block, too) and lefty-masher Jonny Gomes, which could work out fine for them. There are some folks picking them as a playoff-caliber darkhorse, but I just don't see them going that far. Their team reminds me somewhat of the Brewers, a solid club that is going to have some really good streaks and some really bad ones. All that said, it should be the best season -- by far -- in Tampa Bay baseball history.