PHILADELPHIA, then BALTIMORE, then MIAMI -- Three cities in three days. It doesn't match a certain new network's 30 spring training sites in 30 days (apologies for the shameless plug). But hey, it's the best I could do. It's also a great way to start the season, not to mention to learn a little about six different teams. Here are 30 observations, insights and opinions from three great cities and six great and not-great teams.
1. The Braves took some hits for their soap operatic winter, and it's true that there was seemingly unending drama, between
2. Sixty million bucks may be considered an overpay for
3. Beyond Lowe the Braves aren't bad, either.
5. New Braves center fielder
6. The Braves' biggest concern is their bullpen. I asked GM Wren and team president Schuerholz what their biggest concern is, and while neither liked the word
7. The atmosphere in Philly was great. Who says this is a football town?
8. I'm not worried about the Phillies (and I wasn't even before they came back to salvage Wednesday's game 12-11 after being down 9-3). They always start slowly (4-10 last year). It is hard to repeat, but this isn't the sort of group that's going to slack off or be satisfied.
9. The Phillies not only have the game's best closer, but they
10. Many pitchers are going to try to avoid throwing fastballs to
11. The left-handed-hitting
13. It looked like Sabathia and
14. There's nothing at all to worry about with
15. Many e-mailers who wrote to explain why they or other Orioles fans were booing Teixeira said either it's because A) he always talked about how he wanted to play for the Orioles and wound up signing with the hated Yankees, or B) he has been talking lately about how he grew up a
16. The biggest concern about the Yankees has to be the middle of their bullpen.
17. I don't care what anyone says. The Yankees are going to miss
19. The Orioles' top two in the batting order of
21. The Marlins don't need a new ballpark. That the seats aren't angled exactly right (or even that it rains a fair amount) isn't enough reason to junk a perfectly fine stadium and spend several hundred million in a market that doesn't draw, in an economy that's as bad as any since 1929-32. In this case I predict that if you build it, they still won't come. Miamians generally just don't believe in showing up.
22. The Marlins are going to be tough whenever they're throwing their top three pitchers, because
23. Marlins center fielder
24. Marlins third baseman
26. Deposed GM
27. I love
28. For all the outfielders the Nats have, they still don't have a center fielder.
29. The Nats may be that rare team whose Nos. 4 and 5 starters (
30. There's a long way to go ... especially for the Nationals.