It is as sure a sign we have that winter is over, spring has arrived and warmer days and nights are just around the corner.
The calendar still says March but today is opening day of the Major League Baseball season and whether in person or on TV we will witness green grass, hopefully sunny skies and a feeling of optimism that this season will be better than last.
For the Yankees that would mean getting to the World Series, something they missed by just one game last October. New manager Aaron Boone takes over a team that added slugger Giancarlo Stanton to a power-packed lineup that also features Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez.
No doubt the Yankees will score runs but it’s pitching that will likely determine if they get to the World Series for the first time since 2009. They open the season today (3:37) in Toronto with Luis Severino on the mound. The home opener is Monday against Tampa Bay.
The Mets seem to have plenty of pitching (if they stay healthy) but new manager Mickey Callaway has a lineup that is loaded with question marks as they get set to host the Cardinals at CitiField this afternoon (1:10 p.m).
Noah Syndergaard makes the opening day start and leads a talented if fragile rotation. Yoenis Cespedes, Jay Bruce and newly-acquired Todd Frazier of Toms River are expected to provide plenty of pop but there are concerns at first base, catcher and the bullpen.
As a longtime Mets fan I’m hoping they are playing meaningful games in September with a chance at a wild card spot.
Like the Mets & Yankees the Phillies have a new manager in former major leaguer Gabe Kapler who makes his debut on the bench this afternoon (4:10) in Atlanta.
The Phillies have suffered through five consecutive losing seasons but the rebuilding took a major step forward with the acquisition of free agent first baseman Carlos Santana and pitcher Jake Arrieta.
That experience along with the continued development of players like today’s starter, Aaron Nola and outfielder Rhys Hoskins, who hit 18 homers in his first 34 games last season should make for better days this season at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies home opener is next Thursday against the Marlins.
The best part about today? No matter who you root for they begin play tied for first place.