Welcome Back, Baseball: We Hear The Voice Of Spring Anew

Baseball Is Back Sure, spring training was fun, free-agent signings were slow and the weather isn’t particularly great in many parts of the country. But the timeless, pastoral game...

Baseball Is Back

Sure, spring training was fun, free-agent signings were slow and the weather isn’t particularly great in many parts of the country. But the timeless, pastoral game makes its return on Thursday in its earliest-ever regular-season start on U.S. turf. None of this April stuff, thank you. Today’s the day.

It all begins with the Chicago Cubs playing what remains of the Miami Marlins at 12:40 p.m. ET. The Marlins, under new ownership that may turn out to be cheaper and more mean-spirited than the previous incarnation, dumped its entire outfield (including National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton) and second baseman Dee Gordon in the offseason. Marlins? More like chopped herring. The Cubs will have lefty Jon Lester on the mound as they seek a club-record fourth straight postseason appearance.

Some other games to keep an eye on:

•Houston Astros at Texas Rangers. Have to give props to the World Series champs. The Astros are fun to watch, with little power-plant Jose Altuve delivering at the plate and pitcher Justin Verlander delivering to the plate. Cole Hamels gets the start for the Rangers, who will either have some success this season or tear their roster apart.

• The New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays. Here’s your first look at Stanton, who hit 59 home runs last year, in pinstripes. And the Yankees have a new manager in Aaron Boone.

• Clayton Kershaw makes his eighth straight opening day start for the Los Angeles Dodgers as they meet the San Francisco Giants. The Giants beefed up their lineup with Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutchen.

What else is there to say now except … Play ball!
 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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