The Boys of Summer

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Wednesday sees the start of the 2010 MLB Preseason. Baseball is back.

This season has a little extra edge for me as I’m actually going to get to go to a couple of MLB games. I’m making the trip to Boston’s Fenway Park and to Wrigley Field in Chicago. Two must-see venues for MLB fans.

I’ve been desperate to see ivy clad Wrigley since I was 15 and listening to AFN rebroadcast Cubs’ day games out of Heraklion. I remember Harry Caray’s rich broadcasts and frequent rain-delays discussions as to whether the Cubs would ever be allowed to use floodlights at Wrigley.

The Cubs were a long way from a World Series in those days, thirty-five years ago, and they have still to savour the glory of a championship win.

Thankfully the Red Sox ended their barren spell in 2004; I’ve been following them almost as long as I have the Cubs and with more attentiveness.

This season the Red Sox appear intent on adopting a very different strategic direction, emphasising defence over offence, with a strong rotation and a deep bullpen. The recruitment of SS Marco Scutoro, 3B Adrian Beltre and P Jon Lackey all point to a desire to drive down the runs conceded and provide defensive support for the 1a-1b duo of Josh Becket and John Lester. That pair, backed-up by Clay Bucholz, Diasuke Matsuzaka, Lackey and Tim Wakefield. Plus the ever cool closer, Jonathon Papelbon mean the Sox should win more than they lose; but the loss of Jason Bay and continued concern over the health of DH David Ortiz is sure to give fans worries over where the big hits are going to come from.

For now I can’t wait just to see live ball again.

The first games on espnamerica aren’t until March 22nd (Philles and Yankees) but with the package I’m hoping to catch some games earlier than that.

Play Ball.