Things I Hope To See During the 2011 Major League Baseball Season

1.  Jimmy Rollins and Jose Reyes have healthy seasons.

They are two of the most dynamic players in baseball and are game changers offensively and defensively.  They bring an excitement to the park few other players can and both play one of the most important positions on the diamond. Although both have been criticized in the press for their less than stellar past couple of seasons, good health should silence the critics.

2.    No Tommy John candidates.

Nothing brings excitement to the old ballpark like a dominating pitcher, especially one with a dynamite fastball.  All of us remember the first game pitched by Stephen Strasbourg last year and none of us will forget the disappointment when he got hurt. Pitchers with this dominating a talent can transcend team loyalties-they are that exciting. Here’s hoping David Price, Felix Hernandez and all the other young pitching stars stay healthy.

3.    Come June 1, teams such as the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals (just to mention two of several) are still in the pennant race.

It’s, of course, unrealistic to expect these teams to be in the pennant race come late September but lasting past May 1 would be delightful.  Watching these teams last season became very painful, very quickly, with even their winning efforts difficult to take.  Many of these teams have exciting young players in their farm systems, players who hopefully will get promoted and have an impact sooner rather than later.

4.    Let’s have another surprise World Series matchup, one to rival last seasons’ Giants-Rangers showdown.

It’s only natural to cheer for the underdog (unless you live in New York, Boston or Philadelphia) and while those teams are all but certain to finish in the postseason and deservedly so, another David vs. Goliath pre World Series playoff run would be fun.  Certainly those types of matchups have the potential to be babes to the slaughterhouse but as both Texas and San Francisco proved in 2010, stranger things have happened.  Cubs vs. A’s anyone?

5.    No freak injuries like breaking legs celebrating a home run (Kendry Morales.)

No fan, no matter of which team, would want to see a team’s season potentially ruined by fluke injury. Maybe players could keep the potentially vastly overdone NFL style celebrations after each play away from the game.  A Sammy Sosa fingers to the chest and pointing to the sky doesn’t seem warranted after a bases empty single. Maybe a little quiet dignity would be in order.

6. Nice weather from the start of the season to the end.

Last season we couldn’t have asked for better weather, and here’s hoping for more of the same. September doubleheaders due to rainouts in April can be very draining on a team especially in a heated pennant race. No one wants the No. 2 starter from Triple A starting the crucial game of a season which happens to be the back end of a made up twin bill. Not fair from either end.

7. The expansion and a greater usage (within acceptable limits of course) of some of the newer stats with explanations which we non-math experts can understand.

The time honored baseball card stats don’t really tell a true value story anymore in light of these and player evaluation is much more interesting.  I still like the 20 win and .300 average yardsticks maybe because I’m used to them (I mean who doesn’t hate metric except scientists) as they are a nice reference point even though too team dependent.

Finally a short wish—let’s have no money talk, elimination of franchises talk or speeches from Bud Selig. Let’s enjoy the 2011 season for all it’s worth.

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