A new site, a new baseball season. The crew at Baseball Toaster is eager for the season to start, and we spent some time thinking about what we're most anticipating.
Jon Weisman: What am I looking forward to? I'm not sure I've ever felt as stir-crazy, waiting to actually be at a game instead of talking about it. I look forward to Paul DePodesta proving the dissenters wrong about something. Anything.
Alex Belth: As far as the Yankees go, I'm looking forward to watching some of their great talents (Rodriguez, Sheffield, Jeter, Matsui, Johnson, et al) play on a regular basis.
I'm hoping that Bernie Williams manages to score 100 runs again, in what may be his last season as an everyday player, and perhaps his last season, period. I'm rooting for Mike Mussina to have that one year where all the breaks roll his way and he manages to win 20 games. And of course, I hope that Mariano Rivera puts together another great season.
Cliff Corcoran: As pessimistic as I often am about the Yankees' ability to maximize their potential, there's quite a lot that I'm looking forward to about the 2005 season.
My list includes being very wrong about Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright, having Tino Martinez back in pinstripes, watching a healthy Gary Sheffield inflict damage on American League pitching, and Tony Womack losing the second base job, regardless of who winds up replacing him.
Alex Ciepley: And I'm hoping that basically nothing on Cliff's list turns out the way he wishes.
The Yankees deserve having Tony Womack, Carl Pavano, and Jaret Wright stink up the joint.
But while I find Gary Sheffield disagreeable, I'll admit he's the Yankee I enjoy watching the most.
AB: I'm looking forward to New York's newest--and loudest--comedy team, Suyzan Waldman and John "Silver Throat" Sterling calling the Yankee games this season. If only I was a drinking man, I'd enjoy 'em even more. One thing is for sure, when Ethel Merman meets Jon Barrymore, there won't be much air for the rest of us. Should be funny.
Mike Carminati: I'm looking forward to mediocrity. The Phillies reek of it. Charlie Manuel may be the living embodiment of it.
This year should define what the post-Vets Stadium Phils are about, and with their first step being retaining the pathetic Ed Wade and hiring his hand-picked manager, I'm not sanguine.
The Lofton acquisition is another typical Phils move. They needed him midseason last year.
AC: The Phils seemed like a much better team than the Braves entering last season.
MC: With the Phils one year removed from a new stadium, it seems unlikely the brass will open the coffers to acquire new talent, even if they are in a pennant race. What's Paul Abbott up to?
My only solace is that for once the Braves seem the obvious choice with the acquisition of Tim Hudson and with Smoltz shifting from the pen. Given the weird past few years in the NL East, that obviousness may consign the Braves to mediocrity and tempts one to believe that the Phils could capture lightning in a bottle a la 1993.
CC: I hope someone other than the Braves wins the NL East, but I'm not holding my breath.
AC: I'm way past wanting someone else to win the NL East. I'd like to see the Braves keep getting worse on paper while still winning their division by 10 games.
MC: I see the NL being as wide open as I can remember.
And in the AL, there are the Yanks and Sox, but the youth movements in Minnesota, Cleveland, and Oakland should be interesting.
CC: I'm looking forward to whatever the Rangers and Indians have to offer.
AB: I'm curious about what is going to happen with the A's, Rangers, and the Indians. I wonder which teams will perform over their heads and which teams will fall off. And from a distance, it will be interesting to see what teams are for real in the very wild National League.
AC: The Nationals may or may not be in the middle of a youth movement (who knows?), but this year marks their first year after a physical movement, and I'm looking forward to that.
MC: I plan on making a road trip to see the Nationals play, wearing my Expos shirt and new Nats cap just to confuse things a bit.
CC: I'm hoping for a potential Philly/Baltimore/DC roadtrip to catch a ballgame in each city.
Derek Smart: I'm looking forward to the trials of will: Kerry Wood versus Albert Pujols, Roger Clemens versus Aramis Ramirez, Curt Schilling versus Alex Rodriquez, even Mike Maroth versus Matt Stairs.
The central confrontation of pitcher and batter, and all the drama it entails.
CC: The Yankees beating Pedro Martinez the Met as consistently as they beat Pedro Martinez the Red Sock.
AC: Carlos Zambrano punching out Jim Edmonds on high fastballs.
CC: Jason Giambi winning over the crowd with opposite-field RBI doubles.
Will Carroll: I want to see some diving catches and acrobatic double plays. I want to see Ichiro and Tavares and Gathright beating out slow rollers, running faster than the wind. I want to see knees buckle when curves break with filthy action.
AC: I'm looking forward to Corey Patterson, down 0-2 in the count, taking two Roy Oswalt offerings for balls, then clobbering a fastball into the bleachers.
DS: I'm just looking forward to an entire month where Patterson doesn't pop up a single bunt attempt. I am also looking forward to winning the lottery.
CC: Curt Schilling rushing back to face Randy Johnson on Opening Day at the Stadium only to aggrivate his ankle and get lit up by the Yankee bats as Johnson blanks the Sox.
AC: Nomar smashing a run-scoring double off Curt Schilling when the Red Sox visit Wrigley.
WC: I want to see the good guys win and the bad guys get humiliated, then change my mind the next day about who the good guys and bad guys are.
AB: I'm looking forward to watching the games every night with Emily. I'm eager to see which of the new guys she likes and which ones she doesn't, and why.
I want to continue my quest to be a more rational, less emotionally involved fan. I don't mean I want to turn into Spock, but less lost sleep over a tough loss would be a sign of maturing, I think.
MC: I'm looking forward to my son's first game. I'll probably take the kids to a game or two of the Trenton Thunder or Somerset Patriots.
DS: My daughter will see her first baseball game, too. While she'll be too young to grasp it, I hope to plant the seed of the love I have for baseball, to give her gauzy memories of a day on the grass with Dad.
AC: A love of baseball, sure. But you're a Cubs fan. Do you have any second thoughts of implanting Cubs love into her, especially at such a young age?
DS: I have no intention of telling her who to root for, but I will strive to lead by example. I will whisper things in her ear like "Tony LaRussa's a tool," and, "It's hot and humid in Houston. We don't like it there."
I will also say things like, "Isn't ivy pretty?" and, "Kerry Wood is an upstanding young gentleman. Go get his autograph on Daddy's jersey."
JW: My 2 1/2-year-old daughter already sings "Root, root, root for the Dodgers" instead of "home team". That pretty much constitutes her entire baseball knowledge, though.
But I sure enjoy being with her at the games--she's even made it to the end of some. It helps when Kevin Brown pitches a complete game in 2:08.
MC: I'm not imposing Phillie fandom on my kids. I let my 6-year-old daughter pick her team, and she went with the Yankees. Why not let her grow up happy and mentally healthy?
My 18-month-old hasn't expressed a preference as yet, but he likes to say "Ball" incessantly. He's already smarter than John Kruk.
Ken Arneson: As the father of a feisty four-year-old master contrarian, let me just state that the ability of parents to implant things into their kids is highly overrated.
WC: I'm looking forward to another great season. I know we won't be able to put the steroids controversy behind us--and I hope it stays with us until my book hits the market!--but I want to see baseball.
DS: I'm looking forward to seven Cubs games against the Cardinals in September.
MC: I'm looking forward to the Angels finalizing their name. It's got to happen at some point.
CC: To the continued excellence of Albert Pujols.
AB: To watching Joe Girardi sit next to Don Torreleone for an entire year.
MC: To Youppi Mach 2. The chameleonic entertainer surprises us all with an image makeover that will rival Madonna.
CC: To Barry Bonds finally starting to show his age.
AC: To Mark Prior.
KA: To the AL West.
CC: To Larry Walker proving that he can hit like a Hall of Famer outside of Coors Field.
DS: I'm looking forward to a game of catch.
AB: Enough of this hibernating. I'm ready for spring to sprung.
JW: Somewhere out in 2005 is a fantastic moment that, despite around 30 years or so of watching games, I've never seen before.