Today Baltimore Orioles’ fans can utter one of the most beautiful phrases in the English language: pitchers and catchers report! Many of them, along with many position players, are probably already in Sarasota working out. But today’s the drop dead report date. It all begins today.
I’ve said this before, but all this week pitchers and catchers will work out at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. Early next week position players will have to have reported, and Grapefruit League play begins next Saturday, February 22nd. The Orioles will open the home portion of the schedule on Sunday, February 23rd in Sarasota against Boston.
One thing to watch between now and then is who gets the start, specifically in that home opener. It’s understood that the “road opener” might have a different roster set for the game, however who starts that home game might give us some insight as to who’s looking to burst into the rotation. Or where someone stands in the rotation. Regardless, I’d only look for the starter to go two innings or so. Nothing major.
Pitchers and catchers report however after a report that came from the NY Post yesterday saying that commissioner Rob Manfred is considering the concept of changing the postseason structure. Before I go into the proposed changes, I want to mention that I like the way it is now. I liked the addition of the second wild card team, because I felt that the wild card games put more onus on winning the divisions. And over the years those wild card games were usually very compelling. 2019 was no exception.
However the new alleged proposal would scrap the wild card games, and expand the playoffs to seven teams in each league. The top seed would get a bye, and the divisional series’ would be a best-of-three (at the same ballpark). Here’s the kicker: the highest possible seed would get to pick their opponent.
Let me state for the record, I’m against this. It’s unfathomable to me that a team should get to choose which opponent they’ll get to play. This isn’t a schoolyard kickball game whereby captains pick teams. I think this would be a big mistake.
Baseball’s a game that always has been and should always be about tradition. You don’t get to pick your opponent – that’s ludicrous. And expanding the playoffs? This shouldn’t be the NBA or the NHL where half the league gets into the post season. That’s just not how baseball’s supposed to work. But I’d gladly let more teams in it meant avoiding teams picking their opponents.
This is an obvious attempt by the league to spice up the post season and make things more interesting for casual fans. And as a purist, I resent that. You don’t spit at your base customers just to draw in casual customers. We’ll see where this goes, but hopefully it’s nowhere.