By Adnan Basic
America’s favorite pastime has finally returned after a long and grueling winter, and baseball fans across the countries are eager to finally get the 2019 MLB season going.
The biggest storyline of the offseason centered around Bryce Harper and his future. One of the best players in all of baseball, Harper became a free agent after his contract with the Washington Nationals ran out at the end of last year. Every team in the league was after him, and every fanbase was dreaming about him coming to play for their city. With a few weeks left to go, Harper made his decision, signing with the Philadelphia Phillies and making them a must-see team in the process.
“I think Harper joining Philly makes them better, but not World Series contenders quite yet,” said sophomore journalism major Mohammad Samra. “I think Philly’s championship window will be from 2021 to 2026 when their young core is more developed. They already have Aaron Nola and Jake Arrieta bolstering the rotation and Rhys Hoskins looked like a homerun threat last season, and he’s not even fully in his prime yet.”
The city of Chicago nearly erupted when the Cubs finally won the World Series after 108 years. However, that was almost two and a half years ago, and the team is under pressure to pick up another title with this current roster. They are one of the favorites going into this season once again, with superstars like Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo expected to lead the way.
“I think the Cubs are gonna have a good season,” said junior computer science major Dhruv Patel. “We definitely haven’t started this year off too well, but I feel like we’re hitting the ball decently at least. It’s honestly hard to tell right now what will happen at the end of the season, but hopefully they finish in first place in the National League.”
The White Sox are still known to many as the “other team” in the city of Chicago, but they have plenty of potential to succeed in the future. However, this year will likely all about helping their young core grow, so fans aren’t expecting much in the short term.
“It’s going to be a long year for the White Sox,” said JT Polinski, a junior IMC major. “They added key pieces to the bullpen but it is still nowhere close to where it needs to be for them to compete. If they can figure out how to limit the damage throughout the year then they will have a chance. The American League Central is the worst division in baseball right now so I don’t think they’re completely out of winning the division.”
This season is set to be one of the most anticipated in recent history due to how open the World Series field is. Unlike the NBA and the NFL, there is plenty of parity in Major League Baseball, with a number of teams considered genuine title contenders. The Boston Red Sox are the reigning champions, while the New York Yankees are stacked with big-time home run hitters. The Los Angeles Dodgers have come closer and closer in the past few seasons, and some think this could finally be their year. Then there is always the possibility that an underdog rises to the occasion to surprise everyone, with the Cincinnati Reds and Oakland A’s both able to fill in that role.
Only time will tell what does happen, but the 2019 MLB season promises to be one full of drama and excitement.