by Dav's Voice
2019 MLB Baseball season. What to Look for! Sound in the know at Parties!
| 2019 Baseball Preview
This synopsis of the upcoming baseball season is meant to give an introduction to the sport for
novices, those who are new to the game, or those who have never followed baseball other than casually
in the past. Spring training and the Grapefruit and Cactus exhibition seasons will end for this year and
each of the 30 professional teams will soon return to their respective cities. Yes, Major League Baseball
will begin games that count on March 28, 2019, (actually the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland A’s play
in Japan on March 20). This is the earliest opening date in Baseball’s history. Usually the season begins
in early April and culminates with the World Series in October. Each team’s schedule is 162 games
in the regular season followed by the playoffs for those clubs who have proven themselves worthy.
Even though the number of teams that make the playoffs has been expanded, there are still only ten
which have earned the opportunity to play in the post-season, (five from each league). Please realize
that for the 4 Wild Card teams, a single game is played to determine who moves on to play in the
Divisional Series. The winners next play in the League Championship Series and finally the National
League pennant winner faces off against the American League pennant winner in the World Series for
Every year I’m excited about my favorite sport. Sure other sports are faster, tougher, or more
graceful. Perhaps it’s because Baseball has had such a truly fascinating history. Could it be the
unwavering love of the fans shown for their teams and cities. Maybe it’s because of the human
drama. I just think Baseball is the most interesting sport. Every year there is something or someone to
watch out for. Can the Boston Red Sox repeat as champions? The Los Angeles Dodgers have been in
the World Series the last two years. How far will they go this year? Will the New York Yankees’
GianCarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, and company power them past their archrivals in Boston? Other
stories to watch how will the Chicago Cubs perform? The Washington Nationals appear to have fantastic
pitching. The Cleveland Indians seem to have built a strong team. The same can be said about the
Houston Astros. Who can stay healthy throughout the season? This seems to be
a major question these days because professional athletes more than ever are seen as
“investments”, and the owners don’t want to put players on the field unless they’re healthy. Their
investments need to be protected.
I admit money has transformed the game. Money has got to be the greatest change. Most people
just can’t relate to professional athletes anymore. One really has to look at these athletes as
“entertainers”. The best players are like “movie stars”. Of course they’re not all stars. Many are thrilled
just to be in the Major Leagues. Prior to Free Agency, players had to stay with their present clubs unless
they were traded. In other words, owners held all the cards and players were bound where they were.
The Players Union finally negotiated an agreement that players once their contract had expired were
now free to test the open market and shop their services to other teams. The first “Free Agent”
occurred in 1975. Baseball has its rules where a player initially goes through “arbitration” and his
current team has one last opportunity to re-sign him at a fair price. If that player doesn’t like what his
current team is offering, that player can declare for “Free Agency”. Salaries have escalated ever since to
what may seem crazy and obscene levels. However it’s what the open market will bear. At least this is
a more fair indicator of value.
This offseason there were two big-name free agents testing the open market, Manny
Machado and Bryce Harper. There was little action with either. Perhaps they were a bit greedy in their
demands. They both wanted big money but also long-term contracts. Just when there appeared to be
a stalemate, Machado agreed to an offer in early March. He signed with the San Diego Padres at $300
million for 10 years. This set the dominoes in motion. A couple days later, Bryce Harper signed
with the Philadelphia Phillies at $330 for 13 years. People wonder what their status will be toward the
end of the contracts. Both players are 26 years old. Another player who is also 26 has been the
consensus “best player in baseball” for the last several years. That player is Mike Trout. Even though he
was under contract with his team, the Los Angeles Angels, for two more years, his team re-negotiated
his contract. The owner ripped up his current contract and signed him up at $430 million for 12 years.
My opinion is that this guy may actually be a bargain at that enormous amount of money. I truly
believe that most of these players the game see themselves as kids playing the game they love.
The two teams who played in the World Series last year, The Dodgers and the Red Sox, had the
two highest payrolls in the game. This is not to say that small market teams can’t win. The Milwaukee
Brewers and the Oakland A’s both made the playoffs last year. Part of me is delighted when these
teams from smaller markets compete at the highest levels. More great stories to watch for: There’s
last year’s sensation from Japan and winner of the American League Rookie of the Year, Shohei Ohtani.
Even though he had surgery on his elbow and won’t be pitching this season, he’ll still be showing his
tremendous power at the plate. Will the Angels be able to build enough talent around Mike Trout, so
his team can play in the postseason. The Phillies have added not only Bryce Harper, but others as well.
They will surely be a contender. Which clubs will show enough improvement to propel themselves into
the playoffs. Baseball is certainly a game which requires team chemistry. In order to win a
team not only needs great pitching, timely hitting and solid defense, it needs leadership and other
intangibles. Everyone in the organization has to be committed to the same goal. Now that you know
some stories to follow, give baseball a chance. Perhaps you’ll discover why so many have such a
fascination with this game. It should be another fantastic season.