, , , , , ,

As I sat at Nat’s Park on Thursday, April 7th awaiting the start of the 2022 baseball season, I kept hearing the same comment all around me: “It’s so good to be back.”

And indeed it was.

No matter the rain which had delayed the game from 4:05 PM until the first pitch was finally thrown about 8:30 PM.

No matter the cold. I was wearing three layers and had a fourth, a knitted hat, and warm gloves close by.

No matter that Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer, Ryan Zimmerman, Steven Strasburg, etc., etc. were nowhere in sight.

No matter that the Nats were simply awful, except for a 425 foot ‘useless’ home run from Juan Soto.

It was simply delightful to be back at the park with the green outfield, the freshly swept infield, and enough fans to cheer for either the Nats or the Mets.

And I went again two days later.

The weather was still cold.

There were fewer fans. Probably more Mets fans than Nats’.

The Nats were even worse..

But It was baseball again.

Plus, this was not my beloved Red Sox, who were soon to lose their first two games against those thugs from NY.

Watching the Nats is more relaxing. I want them to win, but if they don’t, it’s not a big deal.

It’s still baseball.

And I think there are some changes coming that will make things better. Wunderkid Theo Epstein (Red Sox and then Cubs GM) is heading an MLB effort to collaboratively evaluate the State of the Game, to look at the rules and institute some changes. His effort is how to make the game better for fans, to restore some action, some drama by putting more balls in play and speed up the game.

*Already there’s no Designated Hitter in the National League.

*Some teams are already using the electronic system between the pitcher and catcher to signal what pitch is to be thrown.

*And there’s a lot of experimenting going on in the minor leagues to evaluate a variety of changes, and some of those will likely make it to the majors during this season.

If you have the time, I high recommend you listen to the interview with Theo where he discusses what is being considered and why:

Theo Epstein Discusses How Rule Change Process Could Impact the Future of Baseball

Whether you believe that nothing should change in baseball, that somethings need to change, or you’re somewhere in the middle, I think you’ll find Theo’s thoughtful approach could just be the best thing to happen to baseball in the foreseeable future. (You can skip the first part of the link above and go to the 13 minute portion of the broadcast. The most important part begins about 23 minutes into it.)

**** **** ****

MillersTime Baseball Contest Update:

It appears that more than 30 MLB sportswriters as well as those from The Athletic have been looking at what the brilliant (?) MillersTime Baseball Contest contributors have predicted for the 2022 season.

Everyone, it seems thinks the Dodgers and the Blue Jays will face each other in the World Series, with the Dodgers the more likely winner. There were a few scattered votes for the Rays and Yankees making it and possibly winning.

But I suspect that both the professionals and the MillersTime contestants will once again be surprised come October/November.

Like last year. Who predicted the Braves would win it all?

As for the first question on the MillersTime contests, there many thoughtful and informed submissions and only a few ‘Homers’. It seems many of you know your team and follow them without blinders (not so Chris E).

But I don’t think anyone will match the brilliance/luck of what Chris Ballard was able to ‘foresee’ last year (see 2021 Contest #2 results).

No matter.

Baseball is back

**** **** ****

If you’re interested in joining me for a Nats’ game this year, email me and indicate if you have a particular game that interests you and/or a particular say or time that works best for you.

Also, if you’re interested in purchasing seats for a game, I have a full season plan in Section 127, Row Z, Seats 1, 2, & 3. They are terrific seats, just about 20 rows off the field, between the catcher and first base. I also have parking next to the stadium. We can negotiate a good price, especially if it is not a game that I already plan to attend (e.g., Dodgers, Orioles).