MIAMI, FL - APRIL 04: Josh Johnson #55 of the Miami Marlins makes the first pitch to Rafael Furcal #15 of the St. Louis Cardinals during Opening Day at Marlins Park on April 4, 2012 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
I've giving up trying to decide which of these days is technically Opening Day -- it's probably today, but the Rays don't start, so it doesn't feel quite right. But hey, whatever you want to call it, baseball's back! We've been waiting for this point all off season long, and it's finally arrived. These games count!
The Miami Marlins opened up their new stadium last night with a showcase game against the St. Louis Cardinals, and although I couldn't watch (darn the blackout rules!), it sounds like it was a mix of awe and awkwardness. The stadium looks fantastic from all the pictures and videos I've seen, but Hanley Ramirez showed the world that he still needs time to adjust to third. And from all reports, the Muhammad Ali first pitch was really awkward.
Also, the home run sculpture lives!
But enough with the Marlins: let's move on to the real important thing here, getting pumped up for the Rays season. While the Rays don't play tonight, it's also Opening Day for the minor leagues, so we'll have a live chat tonight (right guys?) as we all follow the entire Rays minor league system simultaneously. Awesome? Exciting? Insane? You betcha.
- From Rays Prospects, here are the official starting rotations for all the Rays minor league teams. Looks like there will be a number of fun pitchers to follow tonight.
- Also from Rays Prospects, here are season previews for the Montgomery Biscuits (Double-A) and the Durham Bulls (Triple-A). Rays Digest also has previews up for the Biscuits, the Bulls, and the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Low-A).
- FanGraphs added yet another feature to their leaderboards now: age filters. So basically, if you use their leaderboards to their fullest extent, odds are you'll never have to pay for the B-Ref Play Index again. I'm constantly amazed by how much research I can do merely using their leaderboards. It's a blessing for all of us that are database-challenged.
- Bill Petti took a look yesterday at projected hits allowed above/below average for 2012. Surprise surprise, the Rays are right up toward the top.