One of the greatest Yankees of all time is retiring. So is a commissioner who exponentially grew revenues during his tenure. Phil Cuzzi should no longer worry about botching calls on balls struck down the line by Joe Mauer. The Dodgers will stop at nothing to win a title. Players are starting to earn $30 million a year. The Royals are trying to catch the Tigers. The Cardinals and Red Sox look to meet in the World Series again.
And where will the suspended Alex Rodriguez be spotted during the season. And with whom?
Put down your shovels, Minnesotans. Baseball season is here to comfort you as winter goes kicking and screaming out of the door. While many of you are down about the state of the Twins, there’s plenty to like about the upcoming season. There are many story lines to follow, too many to list below. But we’ve come up with 10 things about the season that’s worth tracking. What would be yours?
1. All-Star Territory: The Midsummer Classic comes to Target Field this year. A weeklong celebration of baseball will lift spirits around here.
2. Instant replay: Get ready, it’s going to be messy early on as MLB works out the kinks of its expanded replay system.
3. Derek Jeter’s retirement: After giving Mariano Rivera a rocking chair made of broken bats, what will the Twins come up with? ‘‘I’ve been thinking about that,’’ Gardy admitted.
4. More Miggy: Miguel Cabrera, the best hitter of this era, has just signed a megacontract and is going for a third consecutive MVP.
5. Tanaka time: Masahiro Tanaka comes from Japan to join the Yankees for $175 million and challenged to conquer a new league.
6. The Cano show: Robinson Cano has taken his talents to the Emerald City for $240 million, but his new team is not ready to compete.
7. The Dodgers: They have money to burn and too may outfielders, and Yasiel Puig is talented but has a lead foot. Quality viewing here.
8. Gardy 1,000: The Twins’ skipper is just two wins shy of 1,000. The club can dust off its celebration plans locked away after last year’s late-season slide.
9. Tougher drug policy: Bravo to both sides for strengthening the policy, but when will clubs be allowed to void contracts for positive tests?
10. September: By then, Alex Meyer and Byron Buxton should be in the majors, injecting hope into a down-and-out fan base.
La Velle E. Neal III