Anticipation Rises for the 2017 MLB Season

By AUSTIN UNGLAUB
On February 12, 2017

Photo courtesy of Arturo Padavila III, Wikipedia

The 2016 Major League Baseball season was a historic one due to the two teams that played in the World Series. The Chicago Cubs faced the Cleveland Indians in an epic championship. Entering the series, the Indians had not won a World Series title since 1948 and the Cubs had not been crowned champions since the 1908 season. On Nov. 2, 2016, the Cubs outlasted the Indians in extra innings to win Game 7 of the World Series, 8-7. That night, 108 years of absolute frustration for the Cubs' fan base officially came to an end.

With the Cubs having so much success last season, all signs are leading to them having another winning season in 2017. The team did not lose any key players to retirement or free agency, which is ideal when trying to build a dynasty. They will enter the season as huge World Series contenders, as well as the most favored team to win based on bets and gambles placed, according to Westgate Las Vegas.

The team thought to have the second best chance of taking home a ring, according to Westgate, are the Boston Red Sox. On Dec. 6, 2016, the Red Sox acquired star left-handed pitcher Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox. This allows the Red Sox to have a lethal left-right-light combo for their starting pitchers. Their combo will include star-pitcher David Price, the 2016 Cy Young award winner Rick Porcello and of course the new addition of Sale. The trio combined for a 56-23 record last year and they all finished in the top-four in the American League for wins. Freshman Kevin Foulds, who is a lifelong Red Sox fan said, “With this addition to our already great pitching staff, the sky is the limit for the Red Sox this season.”

Many baseball fans will be looking forward to the matchup between the Cubs and Red Sox this season. There will be a three-game-weekend series opening April 28 in Boston. Even with the grueling 162-game schedule that each team in the MLB faces, this will be the only regular season meeting for the two franchises. The only other way that these two teams can face off would be if they both made it to the World Series. “I am extremely excited for this game. Once I saw this game on the schedule, I immediately had to buy tickets for it," said Foulds.

The start of the season is upon us. Pitchers and catchers reported to their assigned Spring Training locations on Feb.13, and position players report on Feb.17. The players will have about a week of practice before they take the field for Spring Training games. These games do not count towards any regular season statistics, but are exhibition games to get ready for the season. Each team plays roughly 35 games over the course of five weeks. This will then lead up to the first regular season game taking place on April 2, when the New York Yankees head south to face the Tampa Bay Rays in an American League East showdown. Baseball fans all around the country are counting down the days until their teams' season opener. Every team has a clean slate and shares the same goal: to still be playing in October.

 
aunglaub@ramapo.edu

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