Jordan Foster of the Sporting News wrote a column this week identifying eight things that he wanted to see during this baseball season, which is set to begin in two weeks with the sunset of Spring Training. Several of his dozen and a half items are ones that appear perennially in his column, while others are unique to the upcoming season.
As he has proposed in the past, Foster wanted to see the designated hitter rule applied in both leagues. He also makes a strong argument for the return of bullpen carts to transport relievers to the mound, a sound idea the huge number of pitching changes that occurs in almost every game.
In the article, Foster also desires to see the end to the pace of game discussions that have become the latest obsession for those running baseball. Most fans, he alleges, find the pace more relaxing than annoying.
Shoetei Ohtani, who over the winter signed with Los Angeles to be both a pitcher and an everyday player, is the subject of one of Foster's wishes. He is hoping to see the former Korean star succeeded on the mound as well as at the plate. There are a dozen other suggestions in the piece, but here are a couple of others Foster could have added to make his list the nice round number of twenty.
It would be nice to see a team accomplish the rare feat Minnesota managed last season, going from the worst record earlier to the playoffs the very next year. Having only 59 games in 2016, the Twins improved so much that they won the Wild Card spot in the postseason.
As rare as that phenomenon was, there is a quite likely chance that baseball fans could witness it again this fall. San Francisco, which had already won three World Series Championships during this decade, could have this year's version of the Twins.
After suffering a miserable season that left them finishing in last place, the Giants have fortified themselves with several noteworthy trades. They picked up All Star third baseman Evan Longoria from the Tampa Bay Rays, and later acquired former Most Valuable Player Andrew McCutcheon from the Pittsburgh Pirates to solidify the outfield.
The Twins last year were also involved in a rare feat that I hope will not be repeated in the upcoming season, and I am certain most baseball fans will agree with me. Minnesota was one of the only five American League teams to finish with a winning record. Needless to say, the clubs that comprated that quintet competed in the postseason.
All the other ten clubs finished under .500, a most embarrassing situation for a sport that promotes itself as one in which every team is competitive. We were one surprising team, the Twins, from having to invite to the postseason a club that lost more games than it won.
So here's jumping that the Junior Circuit will boast at least half of its clubs with winning records, making for a much more exciting pennant race in 2018.