Saturday, February 11, 2012

Is everyone drinking electric kool aid or something?

I’m as anxious as everyone to see spring training get started, and so to get my daily taste of the upcoming baseball season, I’ve been reading a lot of baseball journalism over recent weeks. Normally, at this time of year, everyone’s optimism is on display, and why not? No practice pitches have yet been thrown, no drills have taken place, and there have certainly been none of the spring training sister-kissing games to show that [name of team here] is going to [a) enjoy their long-awaited breakout season, or b) continue their dominance in their division/league].

But this year it has been ridiculous. It seems as if nearly every team is bound to win 100 games and go to the post season where they will crush all opposition – if you believe what journalists are saying.

In recent days we’ve been treated to journalistic prognostications indicating that “Toronto could be East’s newest beast” (Spencer on mlb.com), or “Royals’ bumper crop of talent ready to ripen” (Justice on mlb.com), just to mention two that caught my eye. Arizona has apparently the best pitching in the NL west. Cleveland is on the verge of a big season. And it goes on. Of course, the Angels, Rangers, Marlins, Nationals, and Detroit have made huge commitments to winning now. The Yankees, even though they didn’t get involved in the off-season sweepstakes haven’t lost a jot according to many, and are stronger now than they were at season’s end. Ditto for the Red Sox, Cardinals, and Rays. Even the lowly Mariners are getting some journalistic action (“Wedge, Mariners full of promise for new season”—Johns on mlb.com).

You’ll notice that all of the above quotes come from the Major League Baseball website where they certainly have a stake in heightening each teams’ fans’ expectations, but I could find other examples from other sports journalists with nearly any publication. You could, too. All you have to do is look. At this time of year, every baseball journalist is going to give his view of each teams’ chances for the season, but based on what’s being written in 2012, you’d think at least 20 teams have a realistic chance of going winning it all.

Obviously, everyone is being far too optimistic. However, the thought does occur to me that it would be a terrific thing if they were all right. Can you imagine the baseball we’d see with so many teams that good, battling it out over 162 games?

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