The day has arrived. The games count, and the plays are real. Opening Day is finally here.
I suppose we could focus on how Spring Training was a plethora of injuries, one after another. Or, if you believe Randy Galloway, that the franchise is cursed and no one but Nolan Ryan ever had a clue. However, it seems more appropriate to focus on other things.
Today, I feel more comfortable with Prince Fielder and whoever plays 2nd base than I did with Ian Kinsler and Mitch Moreland -- and that says nothing about the aspirations I have for the future of Jurickson Profar, who will miss at least 10 weeks.
I feel more comfortable today with the overall makeup of the outfield, even without Nelson Cruz. David Murphy was a major hole last season, and Shin-Soo Choo likely provides on-base abilities the Rangers have missed at the top of the lineup since the end of 2011. Heard of Michael Choice? He's the guy Jon Daniels traded Craig Gentry for. If he has his way, he'all play a major role for the Rangers in 2014.
The fact that the Rangers were actually able to put together a rotation despite missing at least three projected starters speaks wonders to the scouting and development within the organization. The best part? The Rangers may get three reinforcements by the end of April, one of which is staff ace Yu Darvish. That speaks nothing of Derek Holland returning around midseason.
The left side of the Rangers infield returns, and once again promises some exciting defensive plays, especially if Adrian Beltre can keep his legs from exploding by May. You think Elvis Andrus will have a first half like last season in which he hit for an OPS of .580? I don't.
More than any of that, I believe that, unlike last season, most of the projected in-season reinforcements will make it back. I think a renewed philosophy of getting on base will be beneficial.
Then, by the end of it all, maybe the Rangers win 90 or more games again. Maybe they win only 80. Whatever the case, today, the ball club has a clean slate and a perfect opportunity to start fresh. That's the true magic of Opening Day. Play ball, boys.