150th season of Major League Baseball right around the corner

Austin Svehla, Reporter

Pitchers and catchers on 29 of the 30 Major League Baseball teams have reported for Spring Training, with three teams having their first full squad workouts of 2019 taking place this Saturday. It’s finally here, baseball is back!

Spring Training games are divided up into two leagues, the Cactus League in Arizona and the Grapefruit League in Florida. Both leagues are a combination of American and National League teams, with most of the Cactus League teams having home ballparks west of the Mississippi River and the Grapefruit League teams primarily located east of the Mississippi. Most clubs play around 25-30 games through Spring Training, although star players are rarely used in game action during February and March to decrease injury risk and allow borderline players to make their case to be on the Opening Day roster. Standings are kept in both Spring Training leagues, but baseball fans do not dive into the standings too much, as Spring Training is basically the equivalent to the NFL or NBA preseason. These games do, however, play an important role in developing young players and increasing internal competition amongst players in each individual club.

Now, to the good stuff: regular season ball. Opening Day is March 28, MLB’s earliest Opening Day in its storied history. Each player will wear an “MLB 150” patch on their caps for Opening Day and one on the right sleeve of their jerseys throughout the 2019 season to commemorate MLB’s 150th season. Baseball’s best will unite for the MLB All-Star game on July 9 at Progressive Field in Cleveland. The 162-game regular season is set to conclude on Sept. 29, with the postseason starting on Oct. 1. Each the National and American League’s three division champions and Wild Card Game winners will vie for the World Series, which is played at the end of October. Needless to say, the Major League Baseball season is an extremely lengthy period, spanning more than eight months from the first day of Spring Training to the conclusion of the World Series.

The baseball world is still waiting to see where superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, among others, sign to play for the 2019 season. The Philadelphia Phillies have appeared to be frontrunners for at least one of the starts, but after trading for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto, the Phillies likely can afford to pay only one of the superstars. The San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, Washington Nationals, Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers and Phillies have all expressed at least some interest in signing either of the two players. Where these two stars decide to play will play a huge role in who will and will not be contenders to dethrone the Boston Red Sox as world champs.