By: Martin Rand, III
Date: April 3, 2012

Heavy rains are frequent, flowers are getting ready to bloom and pollen is covering everything everywhere. This can only mean one thing: spring is in full effect; and, with spring comes the start of the MLB season.

Jose Reyes is one of the main reasons all eyes will be on Miami this season.

The first pitch of the 2012 season is set to be thrown tomorrow, and with that pitch, teams will get all their questions answered. Was this player the right guy to add to the ball-club? Should we have hired that other coach? Did we do enough to win it all? Questions like these and any other executive decisions will be answered in due time.

However, I have my own questions that I can’t wait to be answered about this upcoming season. Even though I’m a die-hard New York Yankee fan, I’m also a fan of the game; and, this season, I have other topics I’m going to follow alongside New York.

Here are three storylines everyone will be talking about throughout the 2012 MLB Season:

  1. Can the Miami Marlins live up to expectations?
  2. This past off-season was huge for the Marlins. Not only did they get the brand-new stadium they’ve been trying to get for the last couple of years, they also got the star power to bring people to the stadium. Jose Reyes led the National League (NL) in batting average in 2011 and was the best free agent on the market. Mark Buehrle is an All-Star, Gold Glove, World Series (WS) winning starting pitching, who can bring leadership and a winning attitude to a franchise that desperately needs it. Heath Bell has been one of the best Closers in the game, winning the Rolaids Relief Award two out of the past three years.

    So, now that you have one of the best hitters in the game, a starting pitching to lead your rotation, a closer who can come in and seal a win for you at the end of the game, new uniforms and the new stadium, what are you going to do with them Marlins? No doubt, receiving all these riches, in a limited amount of time, comes with a win now mentality or else it would all seem pointless. The heat will definitely be on the Miami this season (where have I heard that before?).

  3. Can Albert Pujols thrive under the bright lights of L.A.?
  4. After ten years of service, nine All-Star appearances, three NL MVPs, two WS titles and multitude of batting awards, Pujols left his nest with St. Louis Cardinals to sign a ten-year $240 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Pujols has consistently played well his entire career, so the St. Louis media never picked on him. Even when he went through slumps and it seemed like he was over the hill, they stuck by him, waited it out and eventually he turned it on and started hitting like he usually does; but, will he be able to still play that way with a huge L.A. media judging his every move?

    L.A. is not going to coddle him like St. Louis. How is Pujols going to handle all the media attention when he goes through his slumps? What if the Angels don’t win at a high rate and the media starts questioning his contract? Or, what about when he commits a fashion faux pas on Rodeo Drive? The off-the-field media can be just as, if not more distracting. I hope Pujols thought about these things before signing to a big market.

  5. Will adding an extra wildcard spot mean anything to the playoff run?
  6. This year, MLB executives decided to add an extra wild-card spot to the playoffs. You can thank the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves for this rule. They set new standards of losing last season, when they both lost division leads by the end of September after coming into the month win a substantial lead. So, to help out the teams who play in the same division as powerhouses, as they both do, they put in this rule.

    I have mixed feelings about this rule. One thing that’s different in MLB versus other sports is that only four teams from each league get in the playoffs. That’s three division winners and one wild-card team. It’s harder and a little more meaningful to get in the playoffs in MLB compared to other sports. So, I don’t like rule for that aspect; but, MLB needed to do something drastic to get different teams in the playoffs. I would’ve preferred if they took my idea on how to improve the league but we’ll see if their idea adds excitement and helps up-and-coming teams get into the playoffs.

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Which is the more interesting storyline?
Miami Marlins possibly having a winning record?
Albert Pujols playing in L.A.?
Two new wild-card teams added to the playoffs? free polls