Perhaps if someone referred to you as a black headed grosbeak you might take offense. Would they be implying that your skin resembled a zit faced teenager with a huge schnozz? The ornithologists among us would know, however, that they would be referring to Pheucticus Melanocephalus, one of the most beautiful birds in the world. We are accustomed to these creatures visiting us every spring and summer and entertaining us while they consume sunflower seeds by the bushel while providing wonderful music and visual entertainment as well. Despite not having Green Cards, they arrive from central Mexico every year right around Opening Day, take food without paying for it, make babies out of wedlock, and then head back across the border around the end of August just as your favorite baseball team is falling out of contention. They haven’t arrived yet this season, which accounts for the fact that I’m not really ready for the 2019 season. However, here it is.
The prophets and sages of baseball today have already anointed the Los Angeles Dodgers as the winners in the National League West but the schedule will be played anyway. And, while admitting to a huge supply of prejudicial blood cells, this correspondent is not so sure. For one thing, and check with Bill James if you want, never in history has one season repeated itself exactly the following year. For another, the Colorado Rockies proved themselves willing and able to dethrone the team that has now won the last half dozen divisional titles last year, and they are still very good. For another, Justin Turner missed a third of the season in 2018 and the late bloomer is now 35 years old. Clayton Kershaw made 26 starts last year and let’s see how many he’ll make this year. Yeah, I know. I was all ready to say that they can’t all be hitting so many home runs again and then they smacked eight on Opening Day. Plus they have more money than Donald Trump never left for tips when he should have. Whatever they lack in quality they find in quantity. Still, Chris Taylor. Max Muncy? David Freese? I don’t know.
The Arizona Diamondbacks are mailing it in. Patrick Corbin moved to D.C. Paul Goldschmidt went to where he will be properly appreciated. They still have Zack Greinke, who they may be tempted to utilize the way the Monrovia Angels use Shohei Ohtani. Jake Lamb every day? Seventy wins.
San Francisco Giants fans are hoping that the infield of Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford, and Evan Longoria can all make 140 plus games, and that Buster Posey really did get that hip fixed, and that Madison Bumgarner pitches for them all season for a change. That’s a lot to hope for, but just as the Giants are being universally written off, I’m not so sure.
It says here that the Rockies have the best pitching—what?–yes, that’s so plus Nolan Arenado, so it might be a good year for the purples.
Now if those grosbeaks would just show up, we could get started. Last year it was April 16. They don’t care about the damned wall.