50 things to be excited about 50 days before MLB Opening Day

50 things to be excited about 50 days before MLB Opening Day

We are 50 days away from the MLB’s opening day, so let’s take a look at 50 things of note for the 2024 season.

1. Ohtani’s debut

He signed the biggest contract in North American sports history. Of course, we can’t wait to see him hit bombs at Dodger Stadium.

2. Juan Soto in pinstripes

How many home runs will he hit to the short right porch in Yankee Stadium?

3. Action Jacksons

Two of the biggest prospects, Jackson Holliday of the Orioles and Jackson Chourio of the Brewers will likely make their Major League debuts.

4. Orioles’/Reds’ young core

Both teams have lots of young talent both at the major and minor league levels.

5. Yamamoto in Dodger blue

How will he adjust to pitching in the majors?

6. International baseball

The Padres and the Dodgers are playing in South Korea; the Red Sox and Rays will play in the Dominican Republic; the Astros and the Rockies are traveling to Mexico City; and the Mets and the Phillies are going across the pond to London.

7. Rickwood Field

The Giants and the Cardinals will travel to Birmingham, Ala. to play at the oldest professional ballpark in the United States as a part of Juneteenth celebrations to commemorate the Negro League and its history.

8. The possibility of back-to-back champs

We haven’t seen a team repeat since Yankees won the World Series in 1998, 1999, and 2000. The Rangers kept almost the entire roster from last year’s championship squad.

9. The A’s final year in Oakland

The A’s are moving to Vegas (unless Mayor Carolyn Goodman can stop it) and are in the final year of their contract with RingCentral Colosseum.

10. The Dodgers’ super team

On paper, yes. But, we won’t really know until the postseason kicks off. They could win it all or lose in the NLDS.

11. Championship droughts ending

The Phillies haven’t won the Fall Classic since 2008, despite being there twice since — and as recently as 2022. The Yankees are still seeking their first World Series win since 2009. The Orioles haven’t won it all since 1983, but could break through this year. And like the Rangers before them, the Rays could finally earn the franchise’s first title.

12. Seeing what Ronald Acuña does next

The Atlanta Braves star is projected to be the MVP again this coming season. Can he top his 41 homers and 73 steals?

13. Rule changes

We saw the introduction of the pitch clock last year, and this year they are tightening its countdown from 20 to 18, and also giving baserunners a bit more freedom in their lane between home and first base. These are just a few of the several rule changes that will be in effect as baseball tries to make their games faster.

14. Hard Knocks: Baseball edition

The Red Sox announced a Netflix documentary similar to Hard Knocks.

15. Final year for some veterans

This could be the last we see of Joey Votto, Zack Greinke, and Clayton Kershaw.

16. Josh Hader with the Astros

Houston added one of the best closers in the game to an already solid bullpen.

17. Seeing if Cody Bellinger’s bounce back was a fluke or not

At the time of this writing, he hasn’t re-signed with the Cubs or landed a contract anywhere else, so it will be interesting to see if he stays in Chicago or goes to his third team.

18. Guerrero Jr.’s bounce back

Barring a video game cover curse, Guerrero is predicted to be one of the most improved players next season by the MLB.

19. Little League Classic

The Yankees and the Tigers will play in Williamsport in August.

20. The Astros could make an eighth straight ALCS

A model of consistency for sure.

21. Mike Trout joining the 400 HR club

Assuming he stays healthy, he is only 32 home runs away.

22. Paul Goldschmidt reaching 2,000 hits

It’s pretty much guaranteed, unless the season gets canceled, Busch Stadium gets hit by a meteor or he decides to not play. He needs less than 100 hits to make it to 2,000.

23. Seeing Chris Sale as a Brave

He may be older, but he was great as a Red Sox and adds some depth to the pitching rotation of a World Series contender

24. Seeing if the Royals improve after spending money

Kansas City has the highest payroll in the AL Central.

25. Aces returning from injury

We know the defending champion Texas Rangers are going to be good. Imagine how good they’ll be when they get Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom back from injury this summer.

28. Spring Breakout series

If you’re into prospects, you’re in luck. The MLB is launching the Spring Breakout series, a four-day event of prospect-centric play across the Grapefruit and Cactus leagues.

29. Paul Skenes

One of the most hyped pitching prospects in recent memory is set to make his debut this year. Can Livvy Dunne’s boyfriend make the Pirates relevant?

30. Elly De La Cruz’s sophomore campaign

The fastest man in spikes captured the nation’s attention last year. He’s making steals cool again.

31. Orioles new ownership

The Baltimore Orioles are officially in new hands. Will the hedgefund owners bring some juice to one of the AL’s newest contenders? The team already traded for ace Corbin Burnes.

32. Big names on the Hall of Fame ballot

Ichiro Suzuki, CC Sabathia, Felix Hernandez, and Dustin Pedroia are the headliners.

33. Seeing Luis Arraez hit

The Marlins second baseman flirted with .400 at points during last season. How much better can the hyper-efficient hitter get?

34. Watching Spencer Torkelson take the next step

The former No. 1 overall pick got demoted to Triple-A during his 2022 rookie season, then responded with a 31-homer outing in 2023. There’s still a lot to learn, but Torkelson can help out this Tigers team.

35. Watching Ron Washington handle the Ohtani-less Angels

This team has missed the playoffs every year since 2014. Shohei Ohtani is gone, and Mike Trout is entering the later stages of his Hall of Fame career. What will the 71-year-old do with this underachieving club?

36. Spencer Strider possibly reaching 300 Ks

The Braves ace would be the youngest person since Sam McDowell to hit the strikeout benchmark.

37. The next Cleveland ace

Corey Kluber. Shane Bieber. Tanner Bibee? The Guardians keep churning out great pitchers.

38. Nolan Jones makes the Rockies (semi-)watchable

The Mile High City has nothing going for it at the moment, outside of Jones’ 20-home run/20-steal season

39. Christian Yelich resurgence

He had a down year in 2023. But the Brew Crew has a haul of young talent. Can the former NL MVP return to form?

40. Seeing what Steve Cohen has in store for the Mets

The billionaire Mets owner spent all of 2023 selling. Is he bringing back the wheeling-and-dealing mindset that made him such a popular owner to begin with?

41. That first ballpark dog

There’s something so satisfying about biting into the snapping skin of a fresh frank at the ballpark

42. Peanut dust in your hat

It’s the only time you ever use headwear as a food dish.

43. A nice summer day at the ballpark

When the sun hits your skin just right, you know you’re home

44. Singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”

Is it corny? Yes, but it’s great that first time (that’s what she said?).

45. The crack of the bat

Once you hear that first good bit of contact, you know you’re back.

46. Making fun of Angel Hernandez

He should be banned for life, but boy is it fun to rip on him.

47. Aaron Boone’s ejections

The Yankees skipper sure knows how to make a scene after getting tossed.

48. Pitchers and catchers reporting this month

It means Spring Training is almost here.

49. Spring training

It’s a chance to see who’s in the “best shape of their lives.”

50. No Taylor Swift

Unless she dumps Travis Kelce for… Bryce Harper? IDK.

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.