22. Texas RangersA pair of long shots make the team: Kris Benson cracks the rotation; Andruw Jones lands a spot on the bench.
23. Kansas City RoyalsThe popular pick to make some noise in the AL Central? Could this team be this year's version of the 2008 Rays?
I can't say I am surprised. The Rangers and Royals never get much respect from ESPN. My opinion may also be colored by my fandom. I am not above having a bias when it comes to baseball. The bias is the best thing about being a baseball fan, especially this time of year.
We are a day away from the season starting. All of the teams have broken camp in Florida or Arizona. Players are getting ready to start the games that count. And the fans are busy working out the things that need to happen for their team to finish first. Trying to tell themselves if this rookie can play to his potential and that veteran can find the from he had three years ago then we could win.
I will admit that I have spent a few moments that I am not too proud of reveling in the injuries to the A's and Angels' pitching staffs. I am not a sadist and hope that the injured pitchers get better. But the fan part of me is thinking that this could mean good things for my Rangers, especially the Angels injuries. If they can struggle at the outset and the Rangers can play better to start the season than they have the last two years then we have a shot. Did you see the way we played in the middle months of 2008? We weere one of the best teams in baseball. If we can extend that to a complete season and avoid injuries then this team can surprise.
And the Royals? They play in one of the weakest divisions in the game. The top of their rotation is improved and they have a young, stud closer coming in to shut the door. Their offense was the big weakness last season but this spring that's been the least of their worries. New hitting coach Kevin Seitzer has them swinging the sticks like the 1927 Yankees. OK, not that well, but what can I tell you, I'm a fan. I am only looking for the positive, and if they can start this season like they ended the last one then we may have something.