Chad Clinger column: The boys of summer are back … almost

It’s almost Major League Baseball time. Hopefully you’re somewhat excited, although I doubt you are as excited as I am.

While the National Basketball Association season is winding down, and the Cleveland Browns are busy creating the Avengers on the offensive side of the football, some of us are gearing up for the beginning of the greatest sports season there is.

Not to hate on those other sports, or to exclude stuff like the National Hockey League, but, I just can’t be excited about anything that doesn’t involve diamonds and includes grass.

The offseason provided baseball fans with plenty of waiting, mainly on two superstars to sign contracts. Well, that time did come and neither where many expected, and that’s okay with me.

Say what you want about Manny Machado. I think that he is toxic, but his talents — when he chooses to display them — are undeniable. Let me back up a bit. I don’t think that anyone is worth $300 million dollars, but if you break down the revenue that a blockbuster deal can bring in, well, you have a pretty rad and likely stressful job. Anyway, I wish you luck Manny. Hopefully, playing for a team like the San Diego Padres can straighten you out and make you the teammate that you’ve never been.

Now, let’s talk about Bryce Harper. I am a huge fan. I think the guy — when he is at his best — is easily one of the best players in the pros. If he can remember what team he signed to, he’ll be in good shape. Harper signing with the Philadelphia Phillies took a team with astounding young potential to potential National League East champions.

Of course, the Atlanta Braves and their young squad are still there, and don’t rule out the New York Mets … at least until the third month of the season. And hey, the Washington Nationals still may not be that bad. They fared well last season and Harper played like the dirt in the infield. It’s exciting in the NL East again for the first time in a while. I did leave out the Miami Marlins, but, so does everyone else who follows baseball.

Of course there were other big signings throughout the long winter, including Nolan Arenado re-signing with the Colorado Rockies.

As for what the season holds? That, honestly, is anyone’s guess.

Just because I was curious, I did a little Google searching and took, just for fun, the first preseason power rankings article that I could find to see how the “experts” saw things playing out. released their rankings back March 13 and the top-10 teams, according to their “experts” went as follows. Side bar, they had the Baltimore Orioles as 30/30 and you don’t have to be a mastermind to know that that is the absolute truth! NBCSports’ list includes: 10. Milwaukee Brewers; 9. Washington Nationals; 8. Cleveland Indians; 7. St. Louis Cardinals; 6. Chicago Cubs; 5. Philadelphia Phillies; 4. Los Angeles Dodgers; 3. New York Yankees; 2. Houston Astros and 1. THE Boston Red Sox

As a fan, I want to say that the Red Sox, with that young, talented outfield and a World Series Championship under their belts, will be the top team again. But, as editor Russ Kent gleefully mentioned Friday morning, the Yankees are straight scary.

The battle atop the American League East should be one for the ages in 2019 and, despite the rollercoaster of emotions that surely awaits, I couldn’t be more excited. The NL Central should be another good race to watch yet again this season.

No matter what awaits, the fact the boys of summer are back is enough to get me ready for Thursday, March 28!


By Chad Clinger



Follow Chad on Twitter @GalionSportsGuy

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