The latest from around MLB takes us straight to Japan...
- That's because the MLB season has officially started - you know, eight days before the Chicago Cubs' Opening Day. The Seattle Mariners and Oakland A's took a trip to Japan, and kicked off their seasons at about 6am ET this morning (currently 1-1 in the 8th, with Ichiro already 3 for 3). I have no doubt that it's a fun event for the fans and players, and an exciting way to bring a bit of live MLB to the Japanese market. I also have no doubt that there was a very good reason for making the two-game series a week before the rest of the season opens. But, after this series, each team will head back to the States ... for more Spring Training. I'm not going to call that stupid, but it certainly has an odd taste to it.
- The Los Angeles Dodgers' sale has a winning bidder, and it's the group headed up by former baseball executive Stan Kasten and former Lakers star, Magic Johnson. That group came in with an almost inconceivable $2 billion(!) bid. I know the Dodgers are in a unique situation, and I know MLB teams don't come up for sale too often, but hoo doggies. Anyone else feel like we're seeing a professional sports team bubble? Or, alternatively, seeing a profound shift in the actual value of professional sports franchises? It's gotta be one of those.
- Ken Rosenthal takes a stab at predicting the order of each of the 30 MLB teams' chances at winning it all. The Tigers, Rangers, Yankees and Angels take the top four spots, which makes sense given their rosters, but, Ken: an NL team is going to have a 50/50 shot of winning the thing. The Diamondbacks are Rosenthal's top team, at number 5. The Cubs come in at number 26.
- The drinking-in-the-clubhouse story is one that just one stop slapping Red Sox players in the face. John Lackey, one of the pitchers implicated, recently responded to the story that "guys having a beer after their start has been going on for the last 100 years. This is retarded." Rightly, he was chastised for his totally inappropriate choice of words, and he has since apologized.
- Curtis Granderson is having an MRI on his sore right elbow, but the Yankees aren't too worried just yet. They are dubbing the scan of their star outfielder "precautionary."
- Depending on your pre-existing inclinations about the Milwaukee Brewers center fielder, this could make you hate Nyjer Morgan even more, or maybe start to like him: Nyjer Morgan loves cats.