By Patrick Barron,
Sports Business Writer
America’s favorite pastime, baseball, is back in action this spring. Already, the 2017 Major League Baseball (MLB) season is underway, and baseball fans around the country are rejoicing.
The season is a grueling 162-game long span. Pennants for the various divisions cannot be won in April, and will most likely still be up for grabs in September. With teams mindful of this, teams hoping to contend have to play well consistently throughout the the course of the season. Plus, they have to win enough playoff games to become the World Series champion.
While the 2017 season is young, it is not without its dramatic storylines. Josh Hamilton, the 2010 American League MVP winner is seeing his career in jeopardy. His issues with drugs and alcohol were well known, and various injuries had derailed his status as one of baseball’s best players. Recently, the Texas Rangers released Hamilton from his minor league contract, following another knee injury.
In a statement by Jon Daniels, the Rangers General Manager he said, “Josh will forever hold a place in Rangers history as one of the most talented, charismatic and productive players to wear our uniform. We wish him all the best in his upcoming recovery, and with his family.”
Additionally, PED’s are still a major issue in baseball. Most recently, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ All-Star outfielder Starling Marte was suspended for 80 games, nearly half the season testing positive on a sterioid test. Coupled with a long list of players who violated the league’s drug policy, something has to be done. It is not fair to fans of baseball and teams when a player has a competitive advantage using steroids.
For good news, arguably two of baseball’s best players early in the season are both named Mitch. According to Jonah Keri, a writer for CBS Sports, who notes the batting averages of both Mitch Haniger for the Seattle Mariners and Mitch Moreland of the Boston Red Sox, respectively hitting .303/.418/.561, and .344/.420/.574.
In the New York area, the New York Yankees and the New York Mets are both off to good starts. The former team had recently won eight straight games until the Chicago White Sox broke their streak. It was the longest winning streak in baseball so far, as no other team had won more than five. Even more, it has been the Yankees’ longest winning streak since 2012 when they won 10 games. Fans of the Yankees should be excited to see what the future holds for the team, as their current roster is infused with young talent.
Furthermore, the AL East playoff odds for the team had significantly increased since Opening Day. According to FanGraphs, during the team’s eight game winning streak, their percentage was at a season high 39.9 percent. Compare that to opening day on April 1st when the team had a 15.9 percent chance, and there is an immense difference.
Although, it is too early to tell, the young Yankees could potentially pose a threat this season. At this point, they are contenders with a 10-5 season record, but it is still way to early to tell. Their neighbors in the same city, the Mets are 8-8, with a couple of heartbreaking losses. Nevertheless, there are still over 120 games left, still enough time for any team to be great. It will certainly be another interesting season of baseball.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, April 25th, 2017 print edition.
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