In a sport in which the difference between finishing in last place and becoming World Series champs is a matter of decimals in a few key stats, every February represents a new beginning. At least, this has been the case since the death of the Yankees dynasty at the hands of the Diamondbacks at the beginning of the 21st century. From that day forward payrolls ceased to matter, curses were exorcized with alarming regularity and now baseball tickets for each and every team hold the promise of bearing witness the exploits of a winner.
This is especially so in the year 2013. As Richard Justice of MLB.com writes, few teams can already be counted out of the pennant race. This may seem an obvious statement as a single game has yet to be played. But, it used to be that certain clubs were destined for near triple digit loss totals and the fans knew it. Last season 20 clubs were within five games of heading to the playoffs at the All Star break and this season that number only looks to increase.
The AL East is again the deepest division in the game, but every team, including the Baltimore Orioles, has a realistic chance to upend the Yankee-Red Sox paradigm at the top. The AL Central is never clear, but these days it appears the Royals are ready to relive the kind of glory unseen since the days of George Brett. The AL West has seen an MVP change teams within the division and a once flailing franchise is hoping the return of a young King can topple a division full of heavenly beings and lawmen.
The NL East is stacked with a team out of Washington D.C. for at the top of many experts lists for the first time in nearly a century and the Braves skipping rebuilding to become a challenger before Bobby Cox woke up from his first nap. The Central is finally at five teams and is as topsy-turvy as its AL cousin. Moving west, there is in a land dominating by starting rotations that has suddenly become a Cy Young winner more difficult.
It is a great time to be a baseball fan as parity and chaos has come to dominate the early headlines. All this before the first pitch of those meaningless spring training games has been thrown and a young prospects have been dashed by a journeyman, one he will replace in just a few months’ time. So fans, prepare for an exciting journey that will keep you at the edge of the seat from first games In April until the last pitch graces the edge of the strike zone on All Hallows’ Eve.