The 2014 Major League Baseball regular season is officially underway. Following its World Series defeat in last year’s playoffs, the St. Louis Cardinals begin the season as the number one ranked team in the power rankings.
The Cardinals lost in six games to the Boston Red Sox in last year’s World Series. Despite the defeat, however, many baseball experts believed the Cardinals were the better team. Behind a solid pitching rotation of Adam Wainwright, Shelby Miller, and Michael Wacha, St. Louis signed shortstop Jhonny Peralta to fill a hole in their infield.
Following the Cardinals in the opening day power rankings are the Los Angeles Dodgers who were eliminated from the playoffs by St. Louis a season ago. The Dodgers played their first games of the season on Saturday, March 22 in Australia. They were victorious in both games they played against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Dodgers’ main headline heading into the regular season was the injury of their number one pitcher, Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw suffered a back injury and subsequent back swelling, which made him unable to make his scheduled start on opening day. Recent developments say that Kershaw will be placed on the disabled list and likely miss two or three more weeks.
On the injury, Kershaw commented, “It’s frustrating. I can’t pitch right now. I’ve been hurt before where I knew when I’d be able to pitch. I’m getting better now, just not fast enough,” Kershaw finished by saying, “You don’t feel like you’re a part of the team when you’re hurt. It’s not a good feeling.”
Perhaps the biggest headline entering this season is the addition of instant replay. Major League Baseball implemented the policy in the off-season and hope that it will eliminate the missed calls often associated in baseball.
Teams have already experimented with the new replay system. The first call to be challenged and overturned took place on opening day during a game between the Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers. On a ground ball, Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun was initially called safe at first base. The Braves challenged the call and, upon further review, the call was reversed.
Other notable off-season headlines belong to the New York Yankees. Shortly after signing the Japanese pitching sensation Masahiro Tanaka, Yankee great and future hall-of-fame shortstop, Derek Jeter, announced this will be his final season.
Jeter is entering his 19th MLB season and will be 40 years old in June. He has a career batting average of .312 and is the all- time hit leader in Yankee history with 3,321 as of April 8, 2014.
Only time will tell what new headlines will develop as the season progresses. Despite off-season predictions and expectations, the old adage says, “That’s why they play the games,” and play the games is what they will do-162 of them to be exact.