“There’s nothing more American than grabbing a hot dog, heading to the ballpark and watching nine guys from the Dominican Republic make magic on the field.” — Will Ferrell
With the conclusion of March Madness and subsequent desire to bet on all things sports-related to win back the $10 buy-in you lost after Virginia fell first round, have no fear: a new sports season is fully underway. Baseball is back and ready to be the source of all your disappointments as you follow a team for 162 games that last three hours each, just to find out your favorite team has no chance at making the playoffs.
Regardless, your On Fire correspondent is ready to give you an all-encompassing season preview so you can be prepared to make small talk with that one relative who is oddly obsessed with the game.
As much as it is fact that Wednesdays follow Tuesdays, carrots are healthy, Emory is better than Oxford, etc., nothing has changed with the long-held practice that the New York Yankees will spend every possible dollar to build a superteam. Instead of taking strong analytical efforts to develop young players, the Yankees have continued to be the Alpha Chai Latte Brads from Long Island, N.Y., who simply buy their way to the top. By acquiring GQ poster boy Giancarlo Stanton to guarantee the team even more home runs, the Yankees are once again ready to be the most hateable team.
While the Yankees did everything they could to improve, the Miami Marlins did everything they could to tank. By selling every star player, including the aforementioned Stanton, the Marlins sit at the level of a student who flunked out of “baby bio” and are now taking full pass/fail classes on the basket-weaving track. Most shocking with this Marlins development is the divorce between the organization and the “Marlins Man.” Laurence Leavy (78C), the Emory grad turned successful lawyer, became a fixture at all top sporting events by rocking a bright orange Marlins jersey at prominent seats at the World Series, Super Bowl, Kentucky Derby, etc. Now, by not renewing his season tickets, he is the biggest free agent in baseball willing to take his talents away from South Beach, Fla. Maybe, just maybe, he will next be spotted as the sole fan at Chappell Park for an Emory baseball game.
As a change in the game this year, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has led the charge to pick up the pace of baseball play. By shortening the amount of mound visits and considering instituting a pitch clock, Manfred may in fact speed up the game so much that games will be more short-lived than your freshman-year desire to be pre-med (still improbable).
The 2018 season should ultimately be one of no surprises: Yankees will be good, Marlins will suck and top-down decisions will ruin the national pastime.
However, if the owner of Maggie’s can take an active role in campus elections, then I guess anything may be possible this season.