MLB’s Opening Weeks definitely hit it “out of the park”


 After an especially-slow offseason, Opening Day for MLB arrived with a flourish on March 28th. Following a 2018 season with mountainous highs and cavernous lows, no one really knew what to expect in 2019.

 One aspect we thought we had a good understanding of was which teams would be playing into late October, and which teams would finish playing meaningful baseball in late July. About ten games into the MLB campaign, we couldn’t be more wrong.

 On October 28th, 2018, the Boston Red Sox captured their third World Series title in fourteen years. The Los Angeles Dodgers, who the Red Sox faced, were handed their third-straight World Series defeat. But here in early April, the defending-champion Sox are stumbling out of the gate at an 11-17 record.

 Last year, the Dodgers, who were heavy favorites to win the NL West, got off to a similar start but managed to storm back and win the division. If the Red Sox want to have any hope of returning to the World Series, they need to break out of the championship hangover and figure things out.

 In 2018, the Baltimore Orioles were the complete laughingstock of the league. With an absolutely horrible record of 47-115, every team looked forward to a series against the O’s. The team’s offensive core was not capable of putting up sufficient runs, and their pitching staff ace boasted a…. 5.45 ERA. Not to mention, first baseman Chris Davis’s 7-year, 161-million dollar contract looks to be one of the worst deals in MLB history, as the front office has considered releasing him. In other words, they would rather pay him to not play.

 That’s why when the Orioles started off the 2019 season with a series win against a division rival, the entire baseball world turned its head in shock. In their opening series against the New York Yankees, the underdog O’s managed to win two out of three games, giving the Yankees a major wake-up call to get themselves together. Don’t get me wrong; the Orioles are likely the worst team in the major leagues, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t turn a few heads along the way.

 Ever since their record-tying 116-win season in 2001, the Seattle Mariners have failed to make the postseason. In a loaded AL West division with the Oakland Athletics, Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels, the Mariners have not had much of an opportunity to succeed. This offseason, general manager Jerry Dipoto offloaded many of the team’s star players including Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz and Edwin Diaz in a reimagining of the roster.

 Now, the squad appears to be even better.

 With a scorching 18-13 run to begin the year, Seattle might not be the afterthought team in a crowded division like we thought. Stopgap shortstop Tim Beckham has been otherworldly so far, and looks to prove his worth as the number-one overall selection in the 2008 draft. Outfielders Domingo Santana and Jay Bruce have more-than bounced back from sluggish campaigns last year, and look to continue their prodigious power output.

 Over the course of the season, these scorching-hot teams and players may (and probably will) cool off, and the teams that didn’t get off to a great start may heat up. That’s the great thing about April baseball. If you start off good, awesome; keep going. If you don’t do that well in the first few weeks, there’s still 140 games left to play; about a century for a baseball fan.

 But with such a great few opening weeks of the season, everyone is pumped for another fun-filled MLB year.