April 3, 2006


Across the majors, hope springs anew on opening day (Larry Stone, 4/03/06, Seattle Times)

Today is a day for stories like George Sherrill, who was undrafted out of college, kicked around the independent leagues playing in places like Evansville, Sioux Falls and Winnipeg, now sticking on a major-league roster for his first opening day.

"I'll eat it up," he said with a grin. "It will be good. I'm going from a couple thousand people in the stands to 40,000 people. It will be a neat experience."
L.A. Angels at

It's a day for stories like Roberto Petagine, a one-time premier prospect who meandered through one organization after the other without ever getting his big break, went to Japan for six productive years, came back last season to the Red Sox and still couldn't stick in the big leagues.

Petagine is on the Mariners' roster, and so is Jeff Harris, another well-traveled veteran who will savor as much as anyone that magical moment when, for the first time in a 12-year professional career, he gets to trot out when his name is introduced on opening day.

"It's a dream come true," Harris said. "Two years ago at this time, I just got released from the Mexican League. Now I'm on the opening-day roster for the Seattle Mariners. It's hard to describe."

Today, Harris and Sherrill and Petagine get their day in the sun right along with the multimillion-dollar superstars.

Today, the sun is shining (metaphorically, at least) on all 30 teams, and any flaws that were prevalent a year ago have been mended by the shrewdness of the front office, the diligence of the coaching staff and the determination of the players.

Right? Probably not, but for now, every team's attitude has improved, there's a new-found "hunger" to win and a togetherness that didn't exist in the clubhouse last year.

"It feels fresh and it feels good," said Seattle closer Eddie Guardado. "During spring training, you can see it — a little fire, a little more chemistry here. That's what you need."

And that's the outlook you need on opening day, by statute.

Red Sox, Tigers, Angels with the A's as the wild card.

Phillies, Cards, Dodgers with the Braves as the wild card.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 3, 2006 8:24 AM

No Braves? What ARE you smoking over there?

Posted by: Tygurr at April 3, 2006 8:35 AM

No Yankees. No Indians. No White Sox.

Either pot or brain injury as child.

Tigers? Ha Ha Ha!

Brain injury it is.

Posted by: Bob at April 3, 2006 10:02 AM

The White Sox have no bulpen, so Ozzie is going to use those starters the whole season the way they did in the playoffs. They'll all have broken down by August.

The Indians starters are sketchy.

The Yankees have only one significant player under 30 years of age.

Posted by: oj at April 3, 2006 10:42 AM

Yankees, Cleveland & Oakland. I don't know about the AL wildcard. Maybe Boston or Chicago.

St. Louis, Dodgers & Phillies(?)- there are too many good teams in the NL East - NYM, Phillies, Braves & I even think the Nats will be decent. The NL wildcard will come from the NL East.

I am not a huge Cubs fan but I'd like to see them do well; however, with Woods and Prior on the perpetual DL, then it is looking to be a long season. I'd also like to see the Reds do well.

For the past two years we've have jinx-busting. This year, it won't be the Cubs but it will be the Cleveland Indians turn.

Posted by: pchuck at April 3, 2006 11:00 AM

Sox, Sox, A's. Yanks as wild card. Braves, Cards, Giants. Brewers as wild card.

One of the N.Y. baseball writers on Sunday was betting that if the Yanks pitching sputters in the early going like they did a year ago, George will set his sights on Dontrelle Willis, since he's pretty much the last man standing from the Marlins' latest fire sale (He'll also probably battle the Bosox to see who can throw the most money possible at Roger Clemens before Memorial Day).

Posted by: John` at April 3, 2006 11:24 AM

Yankees, Real Sox, A's, Tribe for the wild card.

Braves, Cards, some mediocre barely .500 team that'll get swept in the first rd of the playoffs, Mets maybe as wild card if the NL East doesn't beat up too much on each other.

Yanks over Sox for the pennant.
Cards over Mets

Yanks over Cards.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 3, 2006 11:40 AM

If no team northeast of the Potomac is playing in October, that would make it a perfect season. (Well, maybe the Ex-Expos excepted.)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at April 3, 2006 11:56 AM

"The Yankees have only one significant player under 30 years of age."

So they passed a law that you can't win b/c Arod and Jeter are over 30?

Btw I wonder what the stat dork projections are for that Fake Sawx infield. I'm guessing a a .700 ops? That'll sure win some games.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 3, 2006 12:00 PM

Phillies, Cards, Padres, Astros as the wild card.

Blue Jays (a fond hope, I admit), White Sox, Angels, Yankees (yuk) as the wild card.

The playoffs, of course, are a crap shoot, but...

If Thome keeps hitting homers like last night, the White Sox repeat.

Posted by: Casey Abell at April 3, 2006 1:22 PM

Actual prediction:

A's, Cleveland, Red Sox, White Sox as Wild Card
Dodgers, Cards, Braves, Mets as Wild Card

Optimistic Prediction:
Mariners surprise everyone, take the wildcard.

Those who are picking the Angels over the A's are being foolish. They'll finish no higher than 3rd in the West.

Posted by: Timothy at April 3, 2006 1:44 PM

Cleveland over Chicago? Better hope Sabathia doesn't spend much time on the DL. Otherwise, the Indians won't beat anybody for anything, including the wild card. Millwood's gone.

Posted by: Casey Abell at April 3, 2006 1:55 PM

Go Tigers! Grrrrrrrrrrrrr!

Posted by: Dave W at April 3, 2006 2:11 PM

AL: Red Sox, Twins, Angels, with the A's as the Wild Card.

NL: Braves, Cards, Phillies as the Wild Card, and...given how mediocre and muddled the NL West is...the Colorado Rockies.

Hey, I can be delusional, can't I? Though the Rockies did have the best record in the horrid NL West after the All-Star break last year:)

Posted by: Brad S at April 3, 2006 2:36 PM


The Angels are opening without MacPherson, Kendrick, Wood, Morales, Aybar, or Jered Weaver in the majors.

Posted by: oj at April 3, 2006 2:51 PM

If the Cardinals aren't on KMOX, it can't really be baseball, can it?

If I thought that even a single major leaguer would condemn Bonds and publicly urge his ouster from the game, I would care about this baseball season. But no one will, and so I couldn't care less.

Posted by: b at April 3, 2006 3:20 PM

That kind of proves my point, unless you're predicting next year's finish. In some ways, it would be better for the Halos to be out of it early, instead of bringing kids up too early in a desperate playoff run--or worse, trading them away for a veteran. More sensible thoughts than mine here.

Posted by: Timothy at April 3, 2006 3:54 PM

But how do they fall out of contention when the guys the youngsters will replace--Figgins, Cabrera, Kennedy, Anderson, Erstad, etc., are all pretty good major leaguers now?

Posted by: oj at April 3, 2006 4:01 PM

Because the Oakland & Texas lineups are younger & better, and Seattle's is at least younger, maybe better.

Posted by: Timothy at April 3, 2006 4:34 PM

The young Angels are better than anybody else's youngsters, but the older ones are so good it still makes sense to play them. That seems a pretty good formula for dominance.

Posted by: oj at April 3, 2006 4:38 PM

The Tigers looked pretty good this afternoon with a 3-1 victory. A save for Rodney, two good innings from Zumaya, really solid all around. Granted, it's only one game and yes, it was against the pathetic Royals - but after too many wretched seasons, a Tiger fan needs something to feel good about. Grrr!

Posted by: John Barrett Jr. at April 3, 2006 7:11 PM

Reality, thus far, is bolstering Orrin's position at the expense of my own. Alas.

Posted by: Timothy at April 4, 2006 2:14 AM

John Barrett Jr., the Tigers were playing the Royals* for heaven's sake. That is like playing a single A team. In any event, I wish the Tigers luck this year. That may be a tough division with the Tribe and the White Sox.

* I get the Royals on radio here in Omaha and the Royals triple-A club is the Omaha Royals. It is going to be a long season for KC.

Posted by: pchuck at April 4, 2006 1:02 PM

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat start Tigers! 161 to go!

Posted by: Dave W at April 4, 2006 4:25 PM


I'm just counting down the days to the CWS.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at April 4, 2006 8:16 PM