If you haven’t noticed, the sports schedule has thinned-out a bit of late. The NBA All-Star Weekend took out some of the more entertaining regular season action, the NFL has long since shut it down for the foreseeable future, and March Madness is still over a month away.
There’s no better time to start thinking ahead. Major League Baseball is coming, and it’s lining up to be one of the most exciting seasons in recent history—at least for perennial losing franchises. The odds to win the World Series at top online sportsbook websites do not favor the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees, for once, and the list of teams that could win it all this season is longer than it’s ever been.
The New York Mets are a prime example of that trend. The Mets have a stable of outstanding young pitchers who are backed by a lineup that, if it can hit at league average levels, can push the team into contention for one of the wild card spots. The return of Matt Harvey alone will keep fans interested until the All-Star break, which is a welcome break from the norm for the “other” New York baseball team.
Speaking of teams that have been bad for years, this could finally be the year the Chicago Cubs bring respectability back to Wrigley. After a barnburner of an offseason that saw them sign Jon Lester, Jason Hammel, and poach manager Joe Maddon from Tampa Bay Rays, the “lovable losers” now have plenty of young talent mixed with some experienced names that know how to get it done in the postseason.
And yet, the Cubs may not even have had the best offseason in Chicago. The White Sox went berserk, adding Jeff Samardzija, David Robertson, Melky Cabrera, Adam LaRoche, and several other useful names in a series of moves that gets them within striking distance of a division title or even a playoff berth. If you can imagine the Cubs in the World Series, you certainly can imagine an all-Chicago World Series.
Who knows what will happen this season? And that, truly, is the best part. This year, more than ever before, the field is wide open in baseball. Half of the US is frozen, but pitchers and catchers have reported to Spring Training. Summer is right around the corner.