Sporting News’ Jordan Foster wrote a column this week identifying eighteen things he wants to see during this baseball season, which will begin in two weeks with the start of Spring Training. Several of his dozen and a half articles are the ones that appear perennially in his column, while others are exclusive to the upcoming season.
As he has proposed in the past, Foster wants the designated hitter rule to apply in both leagues. He also makes a strong case for the return of bullpen carts to transport relievers to the mound, a solid idea from the large number of pitching changes that occur in almost every game.
In the article, Foster also wishes to see the end of the rhythm of the game discussions that have become the latest obsession of those who manage baseball. Most fans, he alleges, find the beat more relaxing than annoying.
Shoetei Ohtani, who signed with Los Angeles over the winter to be a pitcher and everyday player, is the subject of one of Foster’s wishes. He hopes to see the former Korean star triumph both on the mound and at the plate. There are a dozen other suggestions in the article, but here are a couple of others that Foster could have added to make his list the nice round number of twenty.
It would be nice to see a team accomplish the rare feat Minnesota accomplished last season, moving from its worst pre-playoff record to next year. With just 59 games in 2016, the Twins improved so much that they won the wild-card spot in the postseason.
As rare as that phenomenon was, it’s very likely that baseball fans will be able to witness it again this fall. San Francisco, which had already won three World Series championships this decade, could be this year’s version of the Twins.
After suffering a miserable season that left them in last place, the Giants have been going strong with several noteworthy trades. They picked up All Star third baseman Evan Longoria from the Tampa Bay Rays, then acquired former MVP Andrew McCutcheon from the Pittsburgh Pirates to solidify the outfield.
Last year, the Twins also participated in a rare feat that I hope will not be repeated next season, and I’m sure most baseball fans will agree with me. Minnesota was one of only five American League teams to finish with a winning record. Needless to say, the clubs that made up that quintet competed in the postseason.
The other ten clubs finished below .500, a most embarrassing situation for a sport that promotes itself as one in which all teams are competitive. We were an amazing team, the Twins, for having to invite a club to the postseason that lost more games than it won.
So we’re hopeful that the Junior Circuit will boast at least half of its record-winning clubs, making for a much more exciting pennant race in 2018.