Opening Day 2019!

If you are living in a cave or you are captivated by March Madness, you may not have noticed that baseball has started. Technically, the season started a couple of weeks ago when the Mariners and A’s opened the season in Japan. However, yesterday was opening day for the remaining 28 teams. Opening day could mean nothing to you but I happen to love the day. Obviously, it marks the beginning of the season but it has other meanings to me. It usually marks the beginning of spring and the thought of warmer weather. The weather brings greener grass and blooming flowers and plants. After the dreary winter months, a little life is always welcome. Baseball is a very long season and many things can happen throughout a season, so let’s take a look at some predictions from the professionals and myself! Who will win it all? What players will be in the running for MVP and Cy Young?

The American League looks a lot like it did last year. It is very top heavy with teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Astros. Those three teams might be the best in baseball. When you look at the expert predictions for the AL East, the Red Sox and Yankees will certainly be selected as the division winners. The AL Central is a very weak division, but the Indians have enough pitching to get through into the playoffs. The Astros should win the AL West again with relative ease. Some of the other teams that could make a run at the playoffs are the Rays, Angels, and Twins.

The National League is wide open. You could argue that two teams in each division could win with some divisions having three teams with a legitimate shot at winning. The NL East should be decided between the Nationals and Phillies. The NL Central figures to be a three team race between the Cubs, Brewers, and Cardinals. However, the Reds made quite a few significant moves in the offseason to possibly make a push. The Dodgers and Rockies will most likely be the class of the NL West. A few other teams like the Padres, Mets, and Braves could possibly make a push for a wildcard slot.

Baseball has always relied on numbers and statistics to tell a story of how the season plays out. It is changing a little with analytics and advanced metrics becoming popular, but numbers still drive the game. Players that produce large numbers usually end up being in an MVP, Cy Young, or Rookie of the Year race. Check out some of these predictions by the professionals to see what players could win the awards! There are so many great players and pitchers, selecting winners for these categories is almost impossible. Don’t forget that they are selected by sportswriters who could possibly have an agenda and the votes are not always sound.

Picking a winner is a very difficult thing to do. You have a 1/30 shot and you can eliminate at least 10 to 15 teams that have no chance of winning, so your odds will go up. The playoff games can be decided by one player getting red hot and predicting that is impossible. I would like to think the Yankees will be in hot pursuit of title number 28 and the grass is getting greener so life is good!

— Victor Mandalawi

Spring Break!

What do you think of when the calendar turns to March? There are plenty of things to turn your attention to. You can think about March Madness, Major League Baseball getting underway, possibly the weather in your area improving, or just being able to get outside and work in your yard. One of my favorite things to think about this time of year is Spring Break. Spring Break is usually associated with vacations to a warm weather or beach destination. That does not always have to be the case. I wanted to take a look at all of the types of vacations that can be taken. You can choose warm weather, cold weather, a combination of both(?), or just go sight seeing.

Let’s start with warm weather vacations. There are plenty of destinations within the US or Caribbean that you can visit. Your preference of vacation will determine your location. If you like to sit at a pool or a beach and relax, you will need to visit Florida or a tourist location in the Caribbean. Destinations like Miami, Cancun, Punta Cana, and Jamaica are all very popular this time of year. If you are into entertainment and a family friendly destination then Orlando, Florida is a highly popular location. You can visit DisneyWorld, Universal Studios, or Sea World. However, theme parks are not the only attraction for families. You can visit the Kennedy Space Center or spend the day at Cocoa Beach.

Warm weather destinations are not the only place to visit. You can visit plenty of cold weather locations. Here is a great article that offers plenty of advice and locations around the country. If skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and ice-fishing are your type of entertainment then you should buck the warm weather trend and enjoy yourself. What if I told you there was a place that you could enjoy a warm waterpark one day and go skiing the next day? That place would be Wisconsin Dells. A family could certainly find plenty to do in a location like that!

What if you wanted to see the sights? You could visit virtually any city you wanted. You could visit New York City and head to Times Square, Ellis Island, The Empire State Building, or view the 9/11 Memorial. You could also go to our Nation’s Capital, Washington DC. There are so many places to visit and sights to see that you could certainly fill up a week. You can also visit the Smithsonian. It is the largest museum in the world and you could probably spend days here alone. What about visiting our National Parks? There are plenty throughout the country and they have plenty of variety.

As you can see there are quite a few options for taking a vacation during spring break. I did not even mention taking a cruise or viewing MLB spring training games in Florida or Arizona. There are options for all types of people. You can go skiing, swimming, and sight seeing. Spring Break can also carry a type of symbolism for people. It usually means that Winter is coming to an end and spring is around the corner. If you are heading somewhere this month or just watching the calendar waiting for warmer weather, please have fun!

—Victor Mandalawi